Meet Yulia Van Doren

Music of the Baroque: What do you like about working with Jane Glover?

Yulia Van Doren: The first two words that come to mind when I think of Jane are elegance and kindness. She has these qualities in abundance, both in her music-making and personality, which always make creating music with her a true joy.

MOB: What do you like most about singing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio? What makes it special?

YVD: This time of year for me is usually filled exclusively with performances of Handel's Messiah, so it's a treat to get to tell the Christmas story through a different composer's lens. I love Christmas concerts—you feel a heightened level of celebration from the audience, as well as a stronger feeling that everyone is connecting with and understanding the meaning of the text.

MOB: What is your favorite piece of Baroque music?

YVD: Oh, that's too tough! I tend to fall in love with whatever I'm working on in the moment. I also have a special love for Bach's B Minor Mass—every movement is a masterpiece.

MOB: You have a book Crystals: The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing. Could you tell us more about that and how you became interested in crystals?

YVD: A few years ago I started an Instagram account of crystal photography, partly so I could have a creative outlet that had nothing to do with music. Long story short, it really took off, and led to an international book deal. My first book came out earlier this year and, not to brag, but it is one of the bestselling crystal guides worldwide and has already been translated into four languages. I also create limited-edition crystal collections for major retailers like Nordstrom and Anthropologie under my brand name, Goldirocks. It's quite a dance to juggle everything, especially with my singing travel schedule, but oh so much fun!

MOB: What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

YVD: My husband is from the Chicago area, so of course my favorite thing to do here is spend time with his wonderful family.

MOB: What music are you listening to right now?

YVD: This time of year is so full of performances that I don't tend listen to a lot of background music right now—I need to clear my head and my ears. However, NPR and podcasts are always on heavy rotation for me, especially anything that features interviews with inspiring people.

MOB: Do you have a pre-performance ritual?

YVD: As much sleep as possible the night before, and as much water as possible during the day. No food for at least 3 hours before the show (so that there's plenty of room for good, deep inhalations!). It's far too easy to “leave your voice in the dressing room” if you warm up too much before a show, so I just do a quick warmup to make sure that my voice is in the building. I always spend time visualizing, meditating, and praying, especially if I'm nervous. Instead of doing something like imagining the audience naked (a classic for getting rid of stage fright), I prefer to think about connection—how the desire to experience connection is bringing us together, performers and audience, and how we all are connected by shared feelings of hope, wonder, and love. This really helps calm my nerves. Oh, and I also always make sure that there are no new holes in my gown's hem for my heel to catch on—super important!

MOB: What are some of your favorite performing experiences in Chicago?

YVD: I've performed almost exclusively with Music of the Baroque in Chicago, so my favorite experiences are all with this wonderful group. The Monteverdi Vespers a few years ago was a highlight, as that's also one of my very favorite Baroque pieces.

MOB: Deep dish or thin crust?

YVD: Thin crust (sorry, Chicago!)

Yulia Van Doren returns to the Music of the Baroque stage on November 25 and 26 for Bach's Christmas Oratorio. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.