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Daniel Ferro 1921-2015


Voice faculty member emeritus Daniel Ferro (BS '48, voice), died on November 18 at age 94. Born Daniel Eisen (iron in German) in New York, he changed his name to the Italian word for iron early in his career. Ferro financed much of his voice education by giving lessons in both voice and piano. At Juilliard, he studied with Hardesty Johnson (faculty 1941-52) and Bernard Taylor (faculty 1932-54); he then went on to graduate studies in voice at Columbia University. As a Fulbright Fellow, he studied in Europe— mostly in Rome at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia—for seven years, where he wowed European and Italian audiences with his recitals of German lieder. When he returned to the U.S., he served as chairman of the voice department at Butler University in Indianapolis and then as chairman of the voice department at Manhattan School of Music from 1969 to 1977. He joined the Juilliard faculty in 1972 and retired in 2006, at which point he received emeritus status.

Daniel Ferro

Daniel Ferro

(Photo by Pavel Nadglowski)


Though a basso cantante (a higher lyrical bass voice), Ferro was a skilled teacher of all voice types. Kathleen Battle, Anna Moffo, Alan Titus (Diploma '75, voice), Gail Dobish (MM '80, Professional Studies '81, voice/opera), Spiro Malas, Neil Shicoff ('75, voice/opera), and Régine Crespin are among the artists he worked with, and many of his students went on to teach at leading conservatories and universities.

Ferro taught at festivals and schools around the world; he founded the Spoleto Vocal Institute and the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program, of which he was also the artistic director up to the time of his death. His widow, Joy, noted that in 2004, Time magazine quoted him as saying, “I couldn't think of retiring. I would be bored to tears. I'll probably die at the keyboard.” In addition to Joy, Ferro is survived by his sons, Matthew and Jesse; and five grandchildren. A memorial will be held on April 10; see for details.

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