M. Jane Erwin (aka Jane Erwin Hammett) teaches Peak Performance (a performance wellness and success class) and directs the Opera & Musical Theater Scenes class in the Pre-College Division of SFCM. Jane serves on the voice faculty of Sonoma State University and is a longtime teaching artist at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT), where she has taught singing, acting and musical theater in the Young Conservatory (YC) and the MFA Program, served as Musical Director for five YC world premiere musicals, and co-directed the YC Cabaret and Musical Ensembles with former YC Director Craig Slaight. Jane has performed across the U.S. and in San Francisco in two national companies of The Phantom of the Opera, and sung many leading roles with Bay Area opera and theater companies. Her outstanding performances have earned two Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards and a Drama-Logue Award for appearances with San Francisco’s Lamplighters Music Theatre. As a stage director, she has helmed productions for Sonoma State University, Island City Opera, Lamplighters Music Theatre, Pocket Opera, SF Opera Guild’s Opera á la Carte, and the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England. For her 2016 direction of Ruddygore she received a Theatre Bay Area Awards nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Musical. Jane received her B.A. from Dartmouth College, and her M.A. in Integrative Health Studies with Sound Healing Focus from the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she is also a graduate of the Certificate Program in Sound, Voice & Music Healing.
- Peak Performance
- Opera & Musical Theater Scenes (stage director)
- M.A. Integrative Health Studies with Sound Healing Focus
- B.A. Dartmouth College
What is your hometown?
What is your favorite recording? Why?
Leon Fleischer's recording of Brahms 2nd piano concerto conducted by George Szell. I've always found it tremendously healing and full of forgiveness, especially the 3rd movement.
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Vibration and resonance, because they define not just music but our entire universe. Many questions get answered for me when I come back to the simple science of resonance.
Who were your major teachers?
Jane Randolph. voice teacher
Louise Montello, music therapist, Performance Wellness mentor
John Beaulieu, naturopathic doctor, psychotherapist, composer, pianist and pioneer in sound healing and human tuning
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
Howard Thurman: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
What would I love to be, do or have?
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
I believe it was that interview during college with a business person who looked me in the eye and asked me if I'd be happy in a job where the most important thing was the bottom line. She helped me out by asking that question. After that, it was just about making the music pursuit possible.
What was a turning point in your career?
Being hired into the National Tour of "The Phantom of the Opera". I learned so much about myself and what it meant to be a true professional. Delivering 8 shows a week is no small thing, and really great performers make that look easy. I came out of that show with endless appreciation for my talented colleagues and for what it takes to perform at that level every day.
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
Inspiring performers to believe in the beauty and importance of their gifts and the possibility of their success.
What is your daily practice routine?
Meditation, silent or with toning; breathing for health and mindfulness; tuning forks.
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Brahms, Mozart and Handel. My whole system feels more holistically organized with this music!
From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you, and why?
Salzburg, 1756. The birth of Mozart.
What do you think makes a concert experience unique?
The availability of the performers to bring through something that matters to them.
Please list your most important collaborations.
Whatever one I'm involved in at the moment!
What recordings can we hear you on?
Medicine Melodies, Songs the Healers Hear, Silvia Nakkach, Sounds True (2012)
Hellboy (soundtrack), Marco Beltrami, Varese Saraband (2004)
A Song to Sing, O! The Lamplighters Celebrate Gilbert & Sullivan (1996)