JOHN WUSTMAN, who has been called the "dean of American accompanists," studied with John Kollen at the University of Michigan and in New York with Leonard
Shure. He became affiliated with Robert Shaw and his long and illustrious career took off like a comet. Not a comet that sputters and dies, but a comet that has continued to lighten the skies from that day to this.
Wustman's New York years read like a veritable history of singers and singing. He was pianist for the rehearsals of the American Opera Society's presentation of Bellini's II Pirata that occurred in Carnegie Hall in 1959. No less an artist than Maria Callas was featured in that presentation and Mr.
Wustman would later serve
a member of the jury at the Fourth International Tschaikowsky Competition in Moscow with Mme. Callas. During this time he traveled abroad under the aegis of the Fulbright Commission and also the United States State Department teaching master classes in German Lieder in Uruguay, Peru, and Argentina. He has appeared in the leading concert halls of five continents with some of the greatest singers from the second half of this century: names such as Elisabeth
Schwarzkopf, Birgit Nilsson, Régine Crespin, Christa Ludwig, Nicolai
Gedda, Carlo Bergonzi, Luciano Pavarotti and a host of others. Certain highlights in an already brilliant career include a series of televised recitals with Mr. Pavarotti, including the first recital from the Metropolitan Opera House in 1978. His recording of Mussorgsky and Rachmaninoff songs with Irina Arkhipova won the Grand Prix du Disque. Other recordings include song recitals with Régine Crespin, Carlo Bergonzi, Brigitte Fassbaender and the Live from Carnegie Hall recital with Luciano Pavarotti.
Since 1968, Mr. Wustman has been Professor of Music at the University of Illinois where he founded the vocal coaching and accompanying program in 1973. His presence is keenly felt in his master classes and recitals, often devoted to the works of one composer. On January 31, 1997, Mr. Wustman completed a six-year series of recitals celebrating the 200th anniversary of Franz Schubert's birth. This "labor of love", as Wustman terms it, featured performances of each of the Viennese master's 598 songs. Mr. Wustman is in constant demand as pianist, adjudicator, and teacher, and, since 1985 he has presented a series of classes at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana for a two- week study during the summer of vocal repertoire for singers and pianists. His students are engaged as singers, conductors and repetiteurs at the Metropolitan Opera Company, Houston Grand, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric, Munich Staatsoper and La Scala. Since 1999, he has been a member of the "Center for Advanced Study" of the University of Illinois. This is the highest honor and award the University endows. Truly, John Wustman is a musician's musician, a singer's friend: a man for all musical seasons.