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Mukund Marathe discovered Beethoven at age 8 and the Beatles at age 9, and the resulting pleasant confusion has remained with him all of his musical life, as evidenced by the fact that he has performed almost every kind of music imaginable, from early music to modern jazz. His favorite musical activities include the Evangelist in the Bach Passions, Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess, Lyle Lovett songs in church, and being what he calls a utility infielder (meaning he sings tenor or alto in various groups). Mukund was a member of the New York City Opera company for 27 years, toured with the Gregg Smith Singers, and has sung with jazz legend Dave Brubeck, on The Letterman Show, on South African television, and literally all around the world. He spends his free time reading science fiction, practicing calligraphy, dancing, making his garden grow, recently becoming a two-time Jeopardy! champion, and explaining to his two sons why people say such Awful Things about Tenors. He says his wife, Mezzo-soprano Mary Marathe, already knows.
Upbringing - Mukund grew up with his Indian parents, who had an Indian shop in Rockefeller Center and insisted on him having a more American experience in a very multi-cultural Astoria, Queens. Half-jokingly, they said he'd either grow up to become a singer or a comedian, and he shocked them all when he did.
Mukund discusses how his travels have broadened his outlook. On one trip, a sextet in which he sang toured South Africa for a month, landed in South Africa the day they ended Apartheid. He describes the feeling of hope and trepidation and optimism throughout the country. On another, he went to Japan to sing Bach arias and discovered how much the Japanese loved classical music, and he believes they shared with the culture ways in which Bach can be fun.
Mukund sees himself as very lucky for being able to sing for so long already, compared to dancers and professional athletes, but he knows that eventually he'll have to retire or transition. Thankfully, he really enjoys teaching, and he discusses how he fell into teaching.
Jeopardy! He watched it every day as a child and loved that it was a rare show that rewarded you for being smart, and he's always wanted to be on the show. Mukund tells us about the audition process, from the online exam to the written test, mock game, and recorded interview, to being put into their contestant pool.
Mukund had a really enjoyable time because of the staff and coordinators and the wonderful job they did trying to keep everything fun during a stressful time. It went by fast, but he loved hanging out with his fellow contestants and had an amazing time on the show.
This is a two part episode! Stay tuned next week to hear more from Mukund in a really honest conversation about his struggles, humor as a great peacemaker, his advice to the world, and so much more.
Thanks again for joining us on The Peace of Persistence Lite! To hear more about how Mukund and Mary raised two children as musical freelancers, culture shocks, exercise, and how Mukund learns by teaching, visit http://www.patreon.com/peaceofpersistence for double the content and zero ads.