Interview Conducted by Stephen J. Trygar
It is with great pleasure that I get to introduce you to a friend of mine, Anthony Sharp. Anthony currently holds the positions of Pastoral Assistant and Choral Intern at First Presbyterian Church in Haddonfield, NJ and Pastoral Intern at the Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia. He graduated from Temple University’s Boyar College in 2018 with a B.M. in Voice Performance, and he has participated as a Chorister with the illustrious Opera Philadelphia. Anthony and I became acquainted with each other when we both served as Festival Guest Services Associates for Opera Philadelphia’s O18 Festival. I find his career aspirations to be fascinating and exciting, and I am happy to share them with you! Thank you, Anthony, for taking the time to answer some questions and sharing your story!
You are marketed as both a bass/bass-baritone and a pianist. How do you manage to balance the two? Do you keep the two separate from each other or do you find a way to blend them together in your profession?
As far as academically, I plan to strictly pursue voice (perhaps a collaborative piano degree at some point… who knows). Once I got to college, I realized that every singer was always in need of an accompanist… and there were not too many to be found! So, I decided to nonchalantly let singers know that I would love to accompany them if they are ever in need. I would also more “chalantly” barge into the practice rooms of singers I admired and ask them if I could play through their repertoire with them—because for me, collaborating with and learning from another vocalist is one of the most thrilling opportunities. With so many fantastic singer friends and colleagues, I am fortunate to have been presented with steady work, accompanying them on auditions, juries, recitals, lessons, etc. So, to answer the question, I don’t really try to balance them at all. I am chasing down my opera singing dreams and meeting countless artists in need of accompanists along the way!
As a singer, what have you performed, and what have been some of your favorite pieces to perform?
My most thrilling experience has been singing Bach’s solo cantata, Ich habe genug, with the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra. I adore Bach and feel like my technique gets a bath each time I begin working on another one of his works. My favorite composer is Richard Strauss and I hope to sing his works more regularly once my voice has matured from eating my vocal fruits and vegetables (Bach and Mozart).
I see that you hold positions at both Broad Street Ministry and First Presbyterian Church in Haddonfield, NJ. What brought you do these organizations, and what do you hope to gain from your time there?
I began working at First Presbyterian Church in 2016 as the choral scholar. I was so taken by the congregational care, the liberal social-justice-focused sermons, and the unconditional love poured out of this place, that I found my faith and joined the church! A year later, after our Associate Pastor left, I took on the position of Pastoral Assistant to assume some of the AP’s duties: preaching sermons, providing pastoral care, etc. The former AP transferred to Broad Street Ministry and I began doing the same work for her at her new post. These positions have opened my eyes and my heart in ways I never thought possible. This vulnerability and passion transfers directly into my art. Perhaps one day I will be a Minister of Music while pursuing my operatic dreams!
What are some current projects you are currently working on that you would like to share?
In the Fall, I will attend the Peabody Conservatory to continue studying with my teacher in pursuit of a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance. I am currently learning the role of Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni for a summer program in Minneapolis. Leporello has always been a dream role of mine and I will be fortunate enough to perform alongside a very dear friend who is singing the role of Don Giovanni. In both music and in ministry, I plan to continue to open my heart to the uniquely incredible people surrounding me in both arenas.
Thank you once again, Anthony, for taking the time to discuss your involvement in the Philadelphia classical music scene with me. Congratulations on all your accomplishments thus far, and good luck with all your endeavors!