About Mary Trueman
In Memoriam - Mary Trueman (Sept 30, 1915 - Oct 15, 2008)
Born in 1915 in Penwortham, Lancashire County, England, Mary Trueman grew up in a financially impoverished but musically rich family. Mary was an accomplished pianist, and even before receiving significant formal training, she played for many singers at regional recitals and music festivals in England. She was a remarkable woman who constructed a supremely well-rounded education perfect for instructing singers in the areas of art song and the operatic repertoire.
Mary attained degrees with Honors in French & German Language & Literature from the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, England. She was also a Licentiate of The London Royal Academy of Music in England in Piano Accompaniment. Later, she earned a diploma which was the equivalent to a Master's degree in Vocal Pedagogy from the Birmingham School of Music.
Following a rich musical performance and teaching career in the UK along with a residency in Nancy, France, Mary moved to Houston, Texas, in the early 1980s to be closer to her daughter and son-in-law. While in Houston, she became a full member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and developed her own private voice studio. She also began teaching French, German, Latin, and Spanish language classes at St. Pius, a Catholic College Preparatory High School in Houston; and subsequently thereafter began teaching voice lessons at Texas Southern University and Sam Houston University. It wasn't long before she was invited to teach Diction and Vocal Repertoire classes in French and German at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, considered by many to be the Ivy League institution of the South - or, the "New Ivy." It was also during this period that Mary became a certified massage therapist. Although she never practiced, she always maintained that it helped her better understand the physiological conditions necessary for good vocal production.
Students from her classes have gone on to grace the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and San Francisco Opera stages and perform in recitals internationally. She believed in singers putting forth tireless effort towards technical advancement as the only true path to vocal freedom and discovering the exuberance of singing. As it relates to the art song she was a firm believer in the close examination of poetry, speaking the poem aloud to note the rhythm of the words, and that excellence in a singer's interpretation is enhanced and validated by a deep understanding and appreciation of the successive literary movements which influenced the poets' approach to life and art.
She passed away in 2008 from health complications but leaves behind a true legacy in her devoted students whom she encouraged and worked tirelessly to help cultivate and deep appreciation for the art song repertoire. It is for these reasons that Mary Trueman is the motivating force and inspiration behind The Art Song Preservation Society of New York. A plaque in her memory and honor hangs in the National Opera America Center in New York City.