(Los Angeles, CA) - Diana Tash didn’t set out to “do it all.” However, at 57, this mezzo, mother, wife and business logistics executive has a multi-pronged career that’s suiting her just fine.
Living in the Hollywood Hills where the 101, Griffith Observatory and The Hollywood Bowl meet, the USC, Manhattan School of Music and LA Opera-trained Tash has achieved enviable mainline business and artistic success.
On her corporate side, Tash is the VP of Global Accounts for a Southern California-based logistics and supply chain operation currently riding a wave of exponential growth and international success. In addition to teaching voice at Los Angeles Valley College, Tash has the unique opportunity - and freedom - to carefully develop and plan artistic endeavors, such as her 2014 “Spirits of the Air” album of Baroque pieces with famed countertenor Brian Asawa, numerous appearances with Ruth Kahn’s Musica Marin, her solo with the Colorado Symphony and her semi-staged “Into The Fire: Camille Claudel” tour de force. The latter piece, which Tash performed at Pasadena’s Boston Court in 2016, arrives in Walnut Creek, CA next year; Festival Opera, led by Artistic Director Zachary Gordin, will feature Diana’s Camille as one of three “Jake Heggie Triptych” performances scheduled for August 2020.
This month, Tash performs a Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony solo with Dr. Noreen Green’s Los Angeles Jewish Symphony and the Los Angeles Korean-American Musicians’ Association (with Maestro Im Sang Yoon conducting), respectively, as part of a Friendship & Harmony program at The Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Speaking with Tash by telephone, I had the opportunity to ask her some questions covering the past, present and future of #DianaTashSings (her bespoke hash tag).
JM: Congratulations on your upcoming engagement with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. How did you begin working with Dr. Noreen Green?
DT: We met in the late nineties. I went to sing for Noreen as she had some things upcoming. She’d heard about me, although I don’t remember through whom. She wanted to do a piece by composer Lucas Foss, to do it with LAJS, but it required a mezzo who could hit the high notes Foss had written. So, I basically showed up at just the right time. It’s funny, as a couple Jewish girls, I recall that we used to say I was her ‘evil twin’ as we did look alike, in some ways, especially when we were younger. But, to answer your question, our professional relationship began at that time, we became instant friends and have admired each other ever since.
I recently emailed Dr. Green, inquiring about her working relationship with Tash, as well as the upcoming event.
“The LAJS is proud to take part in this extraordinary concert celebrating our friendship with the Korean community,” Dr. Green said. “Both of our cultures have a strong commitment to morality, ethics, and building a better world. Tikun Olam(Repair the World) is our motto, and what better way to express that than through music. In keeping with the evening’s theme,the concert will conclude with the choral ending of Beethoven’s NinthSymphony, with soloists Diana Tash and Ron Li-Paz performing alongside soloists from the Korean community. Diana and Ron both have long standing performance relationships with the LAJS. I first engaged Diana as soloist back in 1998 on Lucas Foss' Song of Songs. Since then we have collaborated on many projects. She is a consummate professional, a generous colleague and a dear friend. Her musicality and stunning, velvet voice add depth and warmth to every note she sings."
JM: Last month, you performed a small role in Festival Opera’s “Susannah”. How was that experience, and how might it set the stage for 2020’s “Camille Claudel: Into the Fire”?
DT: Festival Opera! What can I say other than it was 100 percent fulfilling. It takes a incredible ensemble to pull Susannah off. Everyone in that cast put in 100% and then some…the leads, secondaries and chorus. It was a great time making new professional connections, as well as friends, so the foundation is laid. I can’t wait to continue creating with Zachary (Gordin) and his team.
JM: Touching on your 2014 “Spirits of the Air” album with Brian Asawa, how does it continue to build your brand, repertoire and set you up for future success?
DT: Brian left us in April 2016, about a month before I sang Camille at Boston Court. It’s still hard to believe that he’s gone. The album was released in late 2014, but prior to that, we did several concerts in California, wrapping up with a televised performance at the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Mexico – an unforgettable experience, the album’s live recordings are from this concert. Looking back from 2019, SOTA set me up with bonafide album and recording credits, all due to Brian and his taking me under his wing, to fly together on an album. What a gift. I will say that our unique blend of voices got the attention of many. There was a Grammy campaign that almost succeeded in putting SOTA into 2017 contention, but the album’s scope of work, compounded with the visibility it provided, was an important springboard to bettering my art and to performing. Forever grateful to Brian, although I’d much rather have him back.
JM: You obviously have several work plates spinning at any given moment. How do you manage your day?
Ha! Like they say, “if life throws you lemons, make lemonade”(laughing)! It’s an old cliché, but it’s true, at least for me. Arranging my life around a son who is on the spectrum has been challenging, but not impossible. What I’m trying to say is that the challenge has been finding balance so that I am that kind of hands-on mom. It absolutely involves rearranging my artistic life to fit what works for my son, as well as creating an entirely new, second career in the corporate world. It all might seem like oil and water, but in the end, it’s made me a very good businessperson, which bleeds over into my artistic life. On teaching, helping young singers get their technique, it’s also something I love. Teaching helps keep my hand in the classical music game because giving back matters. I also work with my own voice teacher whenever I’m able to do so. But at the core of everything, for me, having a husband who’s 100% behind every endeavor is priceless!
On August 17, 2019, Mezzo Soprano Diana Tash performs “Friendship & Harmony” with The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony and Los Angeles Korean American Musicians Association at The Walt Disney Concert Hall. Tickets and information.
By James Mowdy