Alan Lindquest (1891-1984) was born in Chicago of Swedish immigrant
parents. His first two teachers were students of Manuel Garcia. It was
at age 19 that he made his concert and opera debut which led to a tour with
the Minnesota Symphony. He was a solo singer from the time he was 15 years of
age. His excellent training at this young age laid the groundwork for his singing
and teaching career.
In 1914, he traveled to Paris to study with Jean de Reszke.
Two weeks after he arrived, World War I broke out and he returned to New
York where he established himself as Thomas Edison's favorite recording
tenor. He also became quite a starring tenor in the Vaudeville circuit making
a minimum of $1000 dollars per week. His solo career flourished and he was
one of the two most famous tenors in New York at the time. In 1917, he sang
for Enrico Caruso. Caruso wanted him to go to Italy to study, however, his
career interfered with such plans.
Alan Lindquest as a young man
Alan Lindquest, the Teacher
He also sang on radio under the name of Alan Rogers, his stage
name in films in 1934 in Hollywood. Lindquest also had a regular radio concert
program at the time. In 1938, he traveled to Stockholm, Sweden to study
with Inge Borg Isene, a student of Dr. Gillis Bratt. Kirsten
Flagstad gave Dr. Bratt credit for building her voice from a small weak
voice to what was to become a world famous Dramatic Soprano voice. Mme.
Isene taught Flagstad after Dr. Bratt's death. It was during this time that
Lindquest coached the young Birgit Nilsson and became friends with
the then not so famous Jussi Bjoerling. They shared many times together
sharing vocal ideas and making comparisons. Lindquest stayed in Europe until
Hitler invaded Poland at which time he returned to the United States.
Alan Lindquest became one of the foremost vocal researchers of his time.
During 1955, he taught the famous vocal teacher William Vennard (teacher
of Marilyn Horne). Lindquest's contributions to the world of vocal technique
have still not been fully realized, however, his work is more and more recognized
as some of the most important in the world of vocal teaching. He single-handedly
helped to save a school of training which otherwise might have been lost.
Alan Lindquest passed away in California in 1984.
Alan Lindquest with the young David Jones
after one of their sessions
It was fortunate indeed that I met and studied with Alan Lindquest
in 1979. He was a generous and kind man who offered all the vocal treasures
of his almost 90 years. At times I could not believe I was in the room with
a man who had coached the young Birgit Nilsson in Stockholm in 1938, and
had himself studied with the great teachers of the world, not to mention
his coaching with Enrico Caruso himself. Alan Lindquest played a major role
in saving this school of singing from extinction. Few singers and teachers
today know of this technique which adopts the beauty of color of the Swedish
language and the brilliance of the Italian School.