Kathy Saltzman Romey is Hitting a High Note

The question isn’t what Kathy Saltzman Romey has accomplished over 30 years in choral music. It’s what hasn’t she accomplished?

Saltzman Romey, BA ’79 (music), professor of music and director of choral activities at the University of Minnesota School of Music, has built a nationally acclaimed graduate program in choral conducting. She has prepared professional ensembles and mentored countless young conductors, educators, composers, and singers. She redesigned the Minnesota Chorale symphony chorus to provide opportunities for youth and to forge deep community connections. She has helped lead the Oregon Bach Festival at the University of Oregon since 1984 and has assisted with 11 recordings, including the Bach Festival’s 2001 Grammy Award-winning CD of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Credo. For her achievements, Saltzman Romey recently received a Distinguished Service Award from Chorus America, an advocacy organization for the choral field.

“This award represents the many people who have impacted my life and work,” Saltzman Romey says. “From the University of Minnesota to the Oregon Bach Festival, from the Minnesota Chorale to the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, and beyond.”

Saltzman Romey studied flute at the UO and took a conducting class from her father, Royce Saltzman, professor emeritus and director emeritus of the Bach Festival. “He was a great teacher,” she says. “I can say that as both a daughter and a student.”

At the UO, she pored over music theory with classmate and friend Steve Larson, BA ’79 (Clark Honors College), MA ’81 (music), later Robert M. Trotter Professor of Music, who died in 2011. She met husband Patrick Romey, BA ’77, MA ’79 (German), in a German language seminar and led a children’s choir in a presentation of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in McArthur Court.

Throughout college, Saltzman Romey says, friends and professors were “dedicated, engaged, supportive, and collaborative.” The importance of being a global citizen, she says, was underscored through connections with international students and through the Bach Festival, which has brought musicians from around the world to campus each summer.

Says Saltzman Romey: “I have tried to bring that same experience of engagement, collaboration, and support of global learning and partnership to my own teaching and work.”

—By Matt Cooper, Oregon Quarterly

—Photo by University of Minnesota