Cathy Berberian


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Cathy Berberian biography

Cathy Berberian (Attleboro, Massachusetts, July 4, 1925 - Rome, Italy, March 6, 1983) was a composer, mezzo-soprano singer, and vocalist. From 1950 to 1966 she was married to composer Luciano Berio, who deconstructed her voice in Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) (1958) and wrote his Circles (1960) and Recital I (for Cathy) (1972) for her. In addition Sylvano Bussotti, John Cage, Hans Werner Henze and Igor Stravinsky wrote works for her voice. She interpreted contemporary avant-garde music, Armenian folk songs, Monteverdi, The Beatles, and her own compositions. Her best known work is her Stripsody (1966), in which she exploits her vocal technique using comic book sounds. She is a trivial pursuit question for classic rock fan baby boomers: Who is Cathy Berberian in the Steely Dan song "Your Gold Teeth" from the 1973 album Countdown To Ecstasy? "Even Cathy Berberian knows/There's one roulade she can't sing."

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