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By uscbknpt

More than Meets the Eye

Jason Kutch portrait

Long before Associate Professor Jason Kutch became a researcher, the one-time operatic singer had dreams of singing at the Metropolitan Opera. 


MOST KNOW ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JASON KUTCH for his work in the classroom and as the director of the Applied Mathematical Physiology Laboratory, where he and his team study the ways in which the nervous system controls pelvic floor muscles and how brain dysfunction contributes to chronic pelvic pain. But it turns out there’s a lot more to Kutch than the left hemisphere of his brain. In high school and college, Kutch indulged his brain’s right hemisphere, singing in choirs, glee clubs and even winning Best Bass in Delaware. 


How did you first get into singing?

My parents were in our church choir, so I was around a capella singing from a very early age. I have always done operatic singing. I also dabble in singing pop songs while playing guitar, but somehow my voice never sounds right to me when I’m not singing opera.


In high school and college, how did you indulge your love for singing?

 I grew up in Delaware and went to Archmere Academy, where I was in choir all four years and in a select group called the Mastersingers starting my sophomore year. I won Best Bass in Delaware my junior year, which allowed me to be part of the All-Eastern Honors Choir my senior year. In college at Princeton, I was part of the glee club and a smaller chamber choir.


What would you say was the pinnacle of your music career?

 During my sophomore year at Princeton, we had a small group of really great singers that performed a large selection of scenes from Mozart’s Magic Flute in Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium, a really beautiful concert hall. I sang the role of Papageno. It was a spectacular feeling singing in that space to a large audience. But most importantly, my future wife was there (we hadn’t met yet) and she says it’s when she saw that I was more than just that tall guy walking around campus that looked like he did nothing but go to the gym and party. So, I guess I piqued her interest, and that would have to be the pinnacle of my musical career!


If you had pursued a musical career, what would’ve been the dream outcome?

 I certainly had dreams (delusions?) of singing at the Metropolitan Opera. But, more realistically, it would have been cool if I could have transitioned to pop and found a way to have a unique voice. 


Eventually, you chose a different career path. What made you move away from singing?

 It was a mixture of things. It was taking a lot of time early in college, and I wanted to have more time for academics. It was also super stressful. I also started to hear the horror stories coming from friends trying to make it in New York of the relentless and sometimes demeaning auditions. So my classes and research eventually took over.


How now do you indulge your love for singing? 

 I love to sing when my wife accompanies me on the piano. Every once in a while, I get pulled in to do Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love” at a wedding reception. I do have a few singing ambitions (Faure’s “Requiem,” Bach’s “Magnificat”) that I would love to perform at some point with a choir and orchestra — hopefully that chance will come one day.