“One finds inspiration through all music, if they are willing enough to look beyond notes on a page and work to discover the true essence of what a composer was aiming to achieve.”
On his way to graduating with a master’s degree, James Hogan has sailed along a river of music, with many achievements in his wake and more to come on the horizon.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and living for a time in Florida, Hogan moved with his family to Buena Vista in 2008 at age 13. He attended Buena Vista High School for two years, then finished high school through a home school program with Keystone National High School, which is based in Pennsylvania.
Throughout his childhood, Hogan developed a love for music, particularly through his parents, professional musicians Jerome and Debra Hogan, who until last year had worked with the Collegiate Peaks Chorale.
“My mother is a professional opera singer and gave me voice lessons. My father, also a singer but primarily a conductor, taught me music theory and history,” he said. “Singing with the choir during my time in Buena Vista provided a means of honing my musicianship skills while being part of a deeply positive community.”
For a time, Hogan served on the board of directors of a Colorado theater company and performed in many productions, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “The Sound of Music” and “Les Misérables.” Through his board position, he also founded an education outreach program in the performing arts for elementary school students.
He has received a first-place award from the international Great Composer’s Competition.
“Artists submit qualifying recordings via the internet of a live performance for judgment. I won the first prize in their Handel competition for a performance of Grimoaldo’s Act 3 aria from ‘Rodelinda.’ It is always an honor to be recognized in this way,” he said.
In May 2017, Hogan graduated with a bachelor of music degree in voice at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. This May, he will receive his master’s degree in voice.
“For any musician the most important aspect of choosing a school is the private teacher,” he said. “My teacher at SFCM, Sylvia Anderson, and I clicked from the moment we met in 2013. After four years of undergraduate study with her, I knew that I hadn’t learned everything I could learn from her. That is what promoted my decision to remain at San Francisco Conservatory for graduate school.”
Hogan finds inspiration in all music, but some of his favorite composers include Mozart, Strauss, Debussy and Donizetti.
While he has been in many performances, some of his favorite have been Handel’s “Rodelinda” and “Tamerlano.”
“These are both operas with fantastically complex characters for the tenor,” Hogan said. “I have also had the privilege of appearing as a soloist with ensembles such as the California Bach Society, Bay Area Choral Guild, Chora Nova and Theatre Comique.”
He also enjoyed a recital he gave in 2017 for a symposium of an opera in production at the San Francisco Opera.
Any moment of performing brings excitement. “When you are in front of a live audience, there is no going back, there is no stopping, there is just creating in the moment,” Hogan said.
After graduation, he will sing tenor solos in Chora Nova’s “Saint-Sæns Requiem.” After that, it’s overseas to Germany for his next performance around mid-July.
“I have been invited to sing the role of Tamino in Mozart’s ‘Die Zauberflöte’ (‘The Magic Flute’) at the Lyric Opera Studio in Weimar,” he said. “This program is an important step in getting a foothold in Germany to sing for agents and hopefully get a job singing in an opera house.
“I am so looking forward to taking part in this program. Singing Tamino in ‘Die Zauberflöte’ is my absolute dream role. To sing it for the first time in Germany is very exciting.”