Taylor, Janis (actually, Janice Kathleen née Schuster), American-born Canadian mezzo-soprano; b. Westfield, N.Y., March 10, 1946. She studied piano and clarinet before going to Montreal in 1967. In 1972 she became a naturalized Canadian citizen. Following vocal studies with Bernard Diamant, she studied with Lina and Antonio Narducci, Stevenson Barrett, Gérard Souzay, and Danielle Valin. In 1971 she made her recital debut in Montreal. Her orch. debut followed in 1973 as a soloist in Messiah with the Toronto Sym. She made her operatic debut as the Queen in Somer’s The Fool at the Stratford (Ontario) Festival in 1975, and thereafter appeared with various Canadian and American opera houses. In 1979 she made her U.S. orch. debut as a soloist in Messiah with the National Sym. Orch. in Washington, D.C. Her European operatic stage debut came that same year when she appeared in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the District ofMtzensk at the Spoleto Festival. In 1980 she made her first appearance as an orch. soloist in Europe in Messiah with the RAI Orch. in Milan. She sang Handel’s Alessandro in a concert performance in N.Y.’s Carnegie Hall in 1985. In 1989 she made her London debut as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the London Sym. Orch. In 1990 she was the center of attention when she starred in Schoenberg’s Erwartung at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam. Taylor has won particular distinction for her varied concert repertoire, being especially admired for her performances of the music of Mahler.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire