Obituary: Renowned Teacher Patricia Misslin Dies at 81

By Francisco Salazar

On Dec. 8, Professor of Music and sought-after voice teacher Patricia Misslin died at the age of 81.

Misslin died at the Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco of complications due to renal failure.

Born on May 6, 1940, in Fitchburg, MA, Misslin was an avid golfer, pianist, New York Times Crossword puzzle lover, and the owner of cutting-edge technological gadgets that she never learned to work. She received her B.M. in 1962 and M.M. in 1964 from Boston University and studied under Polyna Stoska.

She also studied under pianist Ludwig Bergmann and honed in on her spinto instrument. Following her studies, she performed at many major concert halls and opera houses throughout the United States, including Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Town Hall, and Boston’s Symphony Hall.

In 1966 she began her teaching career and she joined the voice faculty of the Crane School of Music, where she was the youngest hire in the history of the college; she worked for nearly 30 years with the school. In 1995, she began full-time residence in Manhattan and joined the faculties of The Manhattan School of Music, and The New England Conservatory of Music and Bard College. She also taught at the Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy.

She was an important mentor to such artists as soprano Renée Fleming, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, and mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore.

Fleming paid tribute to her teacher noting, “A heavy heart today. Patricia Misslin was so important in my life as a young singer. Not only an inspiration and excellent teacher, but a phenomenal musician. She pushed me to develop my musicianship, as she built my voice on the basis of a healthy technique. Early in my freshman year, she worked with me every day, so I could prepare Bach’s B Minor Mass. Her investment in her students’ talents and lives changed us for the better. Her weekly masterclass taught us how magnificently different the human voice is for each individual and what a challenge it is to teach voice. We listened to music and to other singers, often and in great abundance. She instilled in me a sense of adventure with repertoire, assigning challenging new music and ensemble material – that was an essential part of my growth. Thank you, Patricia. I was so fortunate to land with you at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY.”