Norman Shetler has built a distinguished career that is all the more remarkable for its excellence and variety in many facets of the arts. A graduate with artist diploma from the Austrian Academy of Music in Vienna, he early on achieved distinction as both solo and collaborative artist, appearing alone and with internationally renowned artists throughout Europe, Asia and his native United States. Some of the outstanding names with which he has performed both in concert and on recordings are baritones Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and William Warfield, tenor Peter Schreier, violinist Nathan Milstein, cellist Leonard Rose, and the Juilliard Quartet to name but a few. And the repertoire, covering more than a hundred recordings, includes virtually the entire song repertory of Schubert and Schumann.
Along with his well established musical career, Mr. Shetler turned—"half a life later," as he puts it—to the realization of a never-forgotten childhood passion: puppetry. And with accustomed enthusiasm, he soon was achieving international acclaim in this delightful medium as well. Audiences were immediately won over by his unusual combination of humor and musicality, so that soon the name Shetler was also synonymous with the unique idea of musical puppetry as well. Requests were soon pouring in from venues as varied as Vienna's Musikverein, Berlin's State Opera, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Conservatory in Peking, China. It seemed no matter what their language background, audiences took to the charm of puppets who are on intimate terms with Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart (hence the "Salzburg connection").
Still, there seemed one more field that beckoned to Norman Shetler's talents: academe. In that area, he has held distinguished professorships both at Salzburg's famed Mozarteum and the University of Vienna—and this besides being in constant demand in Europe, the United States, and Asia for master classes and musical workshops. Wherever Shetler's richly varied career might next take him, one thing seems sure: he can always count on success with audiences of all ages through the joy of puppetry—a medium in which one critic described him as bringing "poetic enchantment to the concert world."