Alice Duschak, soprano who taught at Peabody

July 21, 1993|By Staff Report

Alice Gerstl Duschak, a soprano who taught voice at the Peabody Conservatory of Music for 45 years, died Monday of cancer at her home in Washington. She was 90.

She retired from the Peabody faculty in 1990. Her students included the sopranos Jessye Norman and Veronica Tyler, at least seven winners of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and first-place winners at the International Munich Vocal Competitions.

Ms. Tyler, who won second prize in the 1966 Moscow Competition, interrupted her professional career to perfect her Moscow program with the help of Mrs. Duschak.

Mrs. Duschak was awarded the Decoration of Honor in Gold for services to the Republic of Austria in 1982.

The former Alice Gerstl was a native of Vienna, where her parents were active in the arts. Among her parents' house guests was the composer and conductor Gustav Mahler.

She was educated at the University of Music and Dramatic Art in Vienna and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. She also studied in Milan, Italy.

She became the leading lyric coloratura singer at the opera house in Muenster, Germany, and was a guest artist at many other opera houses in Germany and Austria.

In 1943, she and her husband, Dr. Gottfried Karl Duschak, came to the United States from England where they had been living. They resided in Minneapolis before they moved to Washington. Dr. Duschak died in 1984.

She continued her singing career in this country and often appeared with pianist and composer Ernst Krenek and with other well-known musicians, including conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos.

She also taught at the MacPhail College of Music in Minneapolis and at Catholic and Howard universities, and wrote many articles on vocal technique and interpretation.

Graveside services for Mrs. Duschak, who had no close surviving relatives, will be conducted at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington.

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