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Image by Dan Gold


An Exploration of Color in Music


In Recital

Michelle Law & pianist Phillip Dannels present a recital program exploring the vibrant palette of colors & textures used in classical music. Both musicians are synesthetes & experience music as both an aural & visual phenomenon, connecting music with color in the mind's eye. This recital explores their unique sensory experience of classical music for voice & piano.

Composers of works performed include Chopin, Debussy, Duparc, Head, Korngold, Liszt, Verdi, & Wagner.

Image by Patrick Fore

What is Synesthia?

Psychology Today defines synesthesia as, "a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (for example, hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway (such as vision). Simply put, when one sense is activated, another unrelated sense is activated at the same time. This may, for instance, take the form of hearing music and simultaneously sensing the sound as swirls or patterns of color." The condition usually presents in early childhood.

What is a "synesthete"?

A person who has had synesthesia their entire life is referred to as a "synesthete". Such people often feel synesthesia is a gift, & many people feel that it has a direct, vibrant influence on their creativity. Famous artists who had synesthesia include Vincent van Gough, jazz musician & composer Duke Ellington, & composer Franz Liszt.

How common is synesthesia?

Current estimates are that somewhere between 3 & 5% of the population have some form of synesthesia, with women being more frequently effected than men. It is currently believed that synesthesia is genetic.

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About the Artists

Michelle Law

Praised for her “dramatic soprano” & “beautiful voice”, American soprano Michelle Law's roles performed include Mimì in La bohème, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, & and the title role in Lehar's classic Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow).  She has performed as a soloist in America, Mexico, England, Scotland, Spain, & Portugal.  Michelle recently graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. She is also an alumna of the San Diego Opera Apprentice Artists program.

Michelle Law headshot.jpeg

Phillip Dannels

Pianist, composer, & tenor Phillip Dannels studied music at Point Loma Nazarene University. He has been heard in recital throughout the United States, & has performed as a soloist at Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego in masterclass with Lang Lang. Phillip has performed under the auspices of the San Diego Opera, Bodhi Tree Concerts, & Point Loma Opera Theatre. He spent several seasons as the assistant conductor for Point Loma Opera Theatre, & directed their production of Donizetti’s Rita. He has served as a répétiteur for various operas, operettas, & musicals throughout the San Diego area.

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