I'm Dr. J LanYe'
Music is the love of my entire life.
For me Music IS life.
I was born to be a musician.
My total existence is music. Nothing makes me happier than a wonderful practice session or a great performance.
To create and share my music is THE reason for me to be alive.
Rehearsals are exciting because they are the steps taken before the coming out party called a recital or concert.
At this stage of my life, it is my job to see to it that good music is offered to performers and audiences.
I have been blessed with an enormous musical gift which must be passed on in unique ways.
My National American Spirituals Collegiate Solo Voice Competitions
(2009-2010-2012-2014 and 2018) allow me to challenge voice teachers throughout the country to learn and assign this most important vocal repertoire to voice majors everywhere. It is an opportunity for voice
students to compete, singing the music which defined the American sound, beginning in the 1700's through the late 1800's.
It is a labor of love to have created a platform to highlight this majestic music in our music conservatories, university music schools and college music departments. (www.AmericanNegroSpirituals.com)
In 2013 I successfully launched my own summer opera company, OPERA BY THE LAKE. It is a training/performing company designed to give singers a chance to envelope themselves in the world of opera. Located in northeast Ohio, near Lake Erie, OBTL has a special youth division which enables 10-17 year olders to learn the different aspects of operatic structure and sing small sections of the repertoire appropriate for their young voices. The adult division immerses mature singers into every realm of operatic conventionality as they gain information about the music and libretto, while using their cultured voices to dramatize a character/role in addition to memorizing staging instructions.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Dr. J LanYe' began her musical journey as a child prodigy able to play the piano at two years of age. She attended her mother's voice lessons at three years of age and paid close attention to the instructions given to her mother by Mrs. Brenner. She enjoyed hearing her mother sing because she had such a beautiful lyric soprano voice. Dr. J inherited her superb lyric soprano voice directly from her mother. Dr. J was fortunate to be around good music and good musicians at such a young age. Most of those musicians realized this little girl had perfect pitch. Her parents had their daughter begin piano lessons just before her fifth birthday. Dr. J used her young operatic voice and nimble piano fingers to create/compose music, daily. She was surrounded by classical vocal music, church music, symphonic music, rehearsals, recitals, concerts and opera on the radio.
Her school teachers were also aware of her unusual talent, particularly when she made a perfect score on the Youngstown all-city music exam in elementary school. She picked up a violin and began playing it immediately, choosing Malotte's "The Lord's Prayer" as her piece. This led to her becoming concert mistress of the All-City Youth Orchestra in the 6th grade. She became assistant concert mistress in the Junior High orchestra.
With no orchestra in high school, she was a violinist in the school string quartet and principle second violinist in the Youngstown Jr. Philharmonic orchestra.
For many years she studied piano, with Mrs. Jean Ethel Gault and began her vocal studies at 12 years of age, with Mrs. Charles Weick, a noted voice teacher in Youngstown. Her high school days were filled with violin studies with Mrs. Lurames Michels, a beloved member of the Youngstown Philharmonic. Mr. John Krueger, conductor of the Youngstown Philharmonic Orchestra, was her music mentor and gave her scholarships to his music camp, The Allegheny Music Festival, ( now defunct) at Seven Springs ski resort in Pennsylvania and Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. There, she studied conducting with Mr. Krueger, violin with Ms. Veda Reynolds, renowned violinst with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and was soprano soloist with the Festival Chorus directed by the celebrated British choral conductor, Hugh Ross.
During her early teenage years, Dr. J was also a member of the Dunbar Choral Club, an African-American choral ensemble that sang classical and light classical music. She sat beside her mother, Odessa, and her father, Joel, was in the bass section. She loved this group and the director, Mr. Nathaniel Lee and wife, accompanist, Mrs. Vivian Lee. Her father had a smooth and pleasant baritone voice. He also exposed Dr. J to the wonderful tradition called the Black Male Quartet. She was delighted to hear the men practice at her home and embraced that sound.
In addition, she was active in Price Memorial A.M.E. Zion church, playing piano and organ for the junior choir, at age 15, with her mother as the overseer. For A.M.E. Zion talent contests, Dr. J often represented the
4th episcopal district, which was governed by Bishop Stephen Gill Spottswood. She always won, singing operatic arias.
Dr. LanYe' credits this amazing backround for her successful music career.
*She legally changed her entire name in 1993, from Jo Ann Lanier.
Who She Is and What She Does Musically
Dr. J LanYe' is an accomplished performing musician....a lyric mezzo-soprano/pianist/conductor and composer.
She is a highly regarded specialist in black classical music and America' s indigenous art songs, American Spirituals.
Dr. LanYe' has given numerous solo voice/piano lecture-recitals throughout the country and is revered for her voice master classes.
The breadth and grandeur of her magnificent music background and experiences catapult her into an elite category.
Classical and jazz music are her constant companions. She wraps herself in the sounds and structures of those musical forms.
Her ability to play jazz piano while simutaneously singing jazz scat has been described as a musical "wonder."
Dr. LanYe' is an established choral director and clinician who is sought after to train choirs, as well as a skilled and experienced orchestral conductor.
She wrote her first piece of music on self-made manuscript paper at the age of five. That composition would be the first of many to follow.
Her highly acclaimed grand opera, "HIGHWAY TO CANAAN." about a perilous trip via the Underground Railroad in 1851, is gaining national attention. She composed every note, every word, wrote the story, orchestrated a full score, fashioned a piano vocal score, gathered singers and instrumentalists and had it performed in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2018.
This tremendously talented woman works tirelessly to create fine music of multiple genres, for the betterment of humankind.
Honors and Recognitions
Cited in the 10th and 12th editions of "Who's Who of American Women
Cited in the 4th and 6th editions of "The World Who's Who of Women"
Cited in the 1979 edition of "Outstanding Young Women of America"
Selected a member of "The Danforth Associates Program," 1970's
to improve the quality of human relations in colleges and universities.
First woman inducted into The Rayen High School "Hall of Fame," 1987
First African-American to receive the Doctor of Musical Arts degree
from The American Conservatory of Music, 1988
Chosen "Honorary Member of ETA PHI BETA Sorority" in 2000
Solo Piano CD-"Calm, Caring and Comforting," in 2004
Designated "TOP MUSICIAN" in the 2012 American Music Forum