Arts & Life, Features, Fine & Performing Arts, Music

Singing across the globe with Jonathan Talberg

Jonathan Talberg’s career started at a very young age: his initial introduction to the musical arts was singing alongside his mother.

After high school, Talberg attended Pepperdine University as a theatre arts major. After a discussion with choir director and future mentor Roger Wagner, he was convinced to pursue choir instead.

Well into his second semester at Pepperdine University, Wagner announced his retirement and urged Talberg to transfer to Chapman University to continue to work with renowned directors. After settling an agreement with Chapman regarding scholarships, Talberg moved back home to Orange County and continued his education.

There are currently seven ensembles at Long Beach State, three of which Talberg conducts and tours with across the globe.

“It’s a really big part of being a professional musician. being on the road is one of the hardest things that you have to learn how to do,” Talberg said.

Travel is a big aspect of Talberg’s life, with his goal being to leave the country once a year for personal travels. For Talberg, learning about new cultures and immersing himself in new experiences is a lifelong passion.

CSULB offers a special opportunity to those participating in the choral arts, with travel being a staple of the program. Sharing his philosophy with his students, Talberg makes sure they get to experience choral events outside of the Long Beach area and even overseas.

During the school year, CSULB allots a certain amount of money for students to attend events, but for trips outside of the academic school year, Talberg helps students fundraise if they are unable to cover costs.

“We don’t leave anybody behind. That’s part of the ethos of course. At the public school level, that’s law. You can’t leave anybody behind at California K-12,” Talberg said. “At the university it’s different, but we don’t [leave anyone behind] just out of a moral obligation to make sure that everybody in the ensemble has a chance to be a part of what makes being a music major at the Bob Cole Conservatory such a joy.”

Recently, the program has traveled to Italy, Poland and Hawaii.

When it comes to his teaching, Talberg has faith that his students will succeed through hard work and the ability to take criticism. While he remarks that he may have one of the highest percentages of A’s awarded to students, he grades on far more than how they can sing. Attendance, evaluations, preparedness and helpfulness are just a few categories presented in the syllabus.

“This program is really good. This is my first year, so coming into it was a lot, but Dr. Talberg, the way he teaches is straight-on, and he expects you to know your stuff, but it’s strict in a good way,” vocal jazz performance major Aria Gunn said.

Whether Talberg is on campus or on a plane with a destination far away, his passion for choir follows him. To keep up with The Beach’s own choirs, follow @csulb_bccm and @choirsatbccm on Instagram.

To listen to Julia Goldman’s interview with Talberg on the Daily Forty-Niner podcast, Artist Banter, visit the Spotify link above. To find this episode on other podcast platforms, visit the Artist Banter season four episode one article.

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