Artist Profile: Frances Niduaza-Murphy

In this series, Artist Profiles, we invite you to get to know our artists beyond their bios and headshots. You may be surprised at what you learn...

How did you become involved in music? In singing?

My mom let me take piano lessons when I was 7. Every Saturday, I would go to my teacher's place. When I was in 5th grade, I started playing in church during worship services, leading to the choir. While growing up in church, I was the soloist for the children's choir. Eventually, I became a member of the adult choir, as well as the a cappella group.

Before Cantanti Project, what was your previous experience with opera? 

The first & only opera experience I ever had was Lakmé. When I was doing my undergrad in piano, I registered for a chorus class that would perform in a student recital. That happened to be Lakmé

Favorite way to spend your free time? 

Either at home cleaning the apartment then watching movies on Netflix, or walking around the city with my husband.

Really, cleaning the apartment? Why is that? 

Unfortunately, I have OCD. Lol! It's never an easy life, especially if you deal with people who are disorganized. But of course, we don't live in a perfect world. That's the beauty and challenge of it! One advantage of living in an NYC apartment is you only clean literally one "big" room with compartments - bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, dining room. 

How long have you been married?

7 months, and counting :)

What's one of your favorite places in the city to visit and walk with your husband? 

One of our favorite go-to place is Van Cortlandt Park. My husband used to coach college cross-country, and that was where they held practice and meets. He was the one who brought me there, and I immediately fell in love with it.

What's on your music playlist now? 

Beatles (Abbey Road & White Album); Amy Winehouse (Lioness); Guns & Roses (Appetite for Destruction); Martha Argerich Collection 2 (Concerto Recordings); Bach Brandenburg Concerti & The Art of the Fugue; Beethoven cello & violin sonatas, & symphonies; Chorus Girl; Philip Glass - Solo Piano & String Quartet; Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits; Joan Baez Bonus Tracks; Nina Simone (Just Like A Woman); The Corner Grocery Store (Raffi, for kids); Motown for Kids; Movement Rhymes, Songs & Singing Games (for kids); Musical Scarves & Activities (for kids); Stravinsky Petrushka; Strauss Four Last Songs; The Very Best of Edith Piaf; Antonio Carlos Jobim; Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix; Zumba Kids music

Favorite not-classical music genre? 

Folk music 

What folk bands or artists would you recommend? And any albums or songs in particular?

I love Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez! They both touch my soul. In Joni's album Blue, I love "River," and in Joan's Joan Baez - Bonus Tracks (1960), "All My Trials."

Do you have a dream opera or musical theater role? 

I love the role of Salome (Richard Strauss).... although, my dream is to be the soprano in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and in the 4th movement of Sym. No.9,  and in J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor.

What was the last book you read or are in the process of reading now?

Tuesdays with Morrie

If you could go back in time 5 years ago and talk to yourself, what would you say? 

When you finish your doctoral degree, brace yourself for the reality of life!

Any other tidbit you'd like to share?

There's always a first! 

What do you mean by "a first?"

Leaving and closing the door to your comfort zone is always a risk, especially since the next door you open is not necessarily the same one you are accustomed to. It's very uncomfortable and sometimes painful. After awhile, when you transcend the emotion, you realize, "Wow! I never knew I could do this." For me, it was being able to cook and bake (my husband being my first victim) or teach games & Zumba Kids during recess. I still remember what that transition was like: "Uhm, excuse me... I'm a musician. I'm a pianist. I don't clean (someone did the cleaning for me then), cook, nor bake. I'm not domesticated because I teach, perform, and travel. I don't do physical education nor sports. Did I miss my calling?!" Yes, others will encourage you, but it will still be up to you. You just have to do it! And that will be your FIRST.

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Soprano Frances Niduaza-Murphy covers the role of Barbarina in Project 2. Born and raised in the Philippines, Frances received her bachelor’s (major in piano, minor in voice; cum laude) and master’s degrees (major in music education, minor in voice) from the University of the Philippines. She was under the tutelage of Leonor Kilayko, Janet Aracama-Sabas, Mauricia Borromeo, and Elmo Makil (deceased). In the Philippines, Frances was actively involved in performances as soloist and pianist of choirs of Manila Baptist Church, The Central Bank of the Philippines, The Department of Tourism, and Makati Medical Center. Moreover, she was the music program coordinator of the Philippine High School for the Arts. Awarded a three-year graduate assistantship as collaborating artist at the University of Memphis, Frances studied under Victor Asuncion. She was conferred the Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano (minor in music theory) in December 2013. A member of the Cornerstone Chorale, Frances is currently the director of the performing arts of Kids in the Game.