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Anton Belov finds passion in singing , joy in teaching music

by: COURTESY OF NADENE LECHEMINANT/LINFIELD COLLEGE - Anton Belov is having a busy year, singing at numerous local venues, including one set for Linfiled College on Dec. 2.For Anton Belov, music has always been a passion. Now he finds that teaching is his passion as well.

The Sherwood resident is now in his second year of teaching music at Linfield College, in a position he absolutely loves.

As an assistant professor of music, Belov, an accomplished baritone singer, teaches everything from voice to the history of music.

Having grown up in Moscow at the very end of the Cold War, Belov arrived in the United States at age 16 with his mother and father. His father was receiving medical treatment for cancer in the U.S. and died a short time later.

“I got my visa on the day of the coup (in 1993),” he said. “I got my visa in the morning… and by the evening there were tanks in the street.

“It was so exciting I didn’t want to go anywhere,” he said.

Once in the United States he lived in a variety of states – Maine, Vermont, New York.

His love of music would eventually lead him to a master’s degree from Julliard and a doctorate from Boston University, and since then he has sung in orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States to critical acclaim.

The New York Times described him as having a “rich, mellifluous voice” and “soulful pathos.”

“That was great,” he said of the review, adding that singers should never read reviews (although he does).

Belov compares singing to athletics.

“It is similar to training for sports,” he said, noting it’s selective, demanding and “very much a physical activity.”

Since he teaches singing technique, his voice is in better shape because he exercises it when teaching his students. He pointed out that the most laborious process is learning the music, which isn’t unlike an actor learning a part in a movie.

Belov said over the years he has found there is an appreciation for classical music and opera in both his native Russia and in America as well, something he discovers while teaching music appreciation classes.

He finds that students are often surprised by the fact they like classical music, finding it both accessible and enjoyable and not separate by any generational gap. That often ends the discussion of whether classical music is alive or dead.

“It’s alive,” he said. “It’s doing fine.”

by: COURTESY OF NADENE LECHEMINANT/LINFIELD COLLEGE - Anton Belov has performed to large audiences throughout the United States since coming from Russia in 1993.On Dec. 2, Belov will perform with the Linfield Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Michael Gesme in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium at 2 p.m. He has a future date at Carnegie Hall.

Belov’s other appearances will include the Portland Chamber Orchestra’s production of “Handel’s Messiah” on Dec. 19, 21 and 23 (at various locations), and later this winter he will make an appearance at the Willamette Master Chorus Winter Concert with a production of Childhood of Christ set for Feb. 23 and 24.

Meanwhile, Belov will be at the Classic Pianos of Portland concert on Jan. 5 with a solo recital, and in the spring he’ll perform with the Oregon Symphony in Kurt Weill’s “Seven Deadly Sins.”

“This is my first time,” he said of his symphony performance. “It’s been an insanely busy year. It’s exciting but crazy.”

Despite his busy schedule, Belov finds time to teach a voice camp for four weeks in Maine.

“The students actually come from all over the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Belov also teaches private music classes and between Sherwood and Linfield College, he has had three winners of the National Association of Teachers of Singing award. Next year he will take a group of students to Italy where they’ll study Italian opera.

When not singing or teaching, you can often find Belov enjoying another craft he loves – woodworking. It is a throwback to his time as a professional woodworker, the first real job he had after arriving in America.

“When I get a chance I make most of the furniture in my house,” he said, noting that he’s partial to working with cherry.

In fact, it was during his woodworking days that Belov had to make a choice of the type of music he would listen to. The furniture-making company he worked for was divided into two camps – those who listened to heavy metal and those who listened to country and Western. That’s where he gained an appreciation of Johnny Cash.

His favorite song by the “Man in Black?” “Ring of Fire.”

Belov has only returned to his home country once more than 12 years ago, where he found Russia to be a “totally different world” since he left. He plans to go back to visit someday.

“They tell me if I go now, I wouldn’t recognize it,” he said.

A Sherwood resident since August 2011, Belov said he has found Portland similar culturally to New England.

“I like Sherwood,” he said. “I love Oregon.”

For more on Belov, visit Antonbelov.com




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