David John Pike, pictured, will release a new recording with the Gryphon Trio performing Beethoven in January
Photo: Matic Zorman
Canadian national David John Pike isn’t your typical baritone. He’s an imposing Don Giovanni on stage and is equally as impressive when educating concert promoters about the finer points of the US/Luxembourg tax treaty.
To maintain a dual career track in accounting and music, he’s had to maintain a unique skill set--and an uncommon equilibrium. On one side of the fence, there is a stable job with a steady income. On the other side, the realisation that money and business aren’t everything. Pike, the businessman: It’s difficult to turn down profitable business projects for art. Pike, the vocalist: You need to feed the soul as well as the bank account. “It’s a question of strategic decisions,” he says. “You have to make choices and don’t overthink them.”
Although he started singing as a youth, and quite seriously in young adulthood, Pike didn’t decide to give it his full attention until about nine years ago. At the time, he was studying in Luxembourg with Daniel Lewis Williams, one of the world’s most sought-after interpreters of the German and Italian repertoires. Williams’ religious insistence that Pike “do something” with his talent eventually bore dividends and he began to make meaningful commitments to music. Pike has since worked with leading ensembles, including the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the London Philharmonic.
“Making the decision to develop a vocal career alongside a traditional business was difficult,” he says. “The two worlds regard each other with suspicion. Some clients get what I’m doing, and others don’t.” His work now entails a new kind of risk management that includes weighing coaching costs, time costs and opportunity costs. Preparation for an operatic role requires a huge investment. Learning new material involves rigorous study and a major time commitment at the expense of other work. He has to consider whether or not he will perform the role more than once. Asked how long it takes to prepare adequately for a major operatic role, Pike answers simply, “a lifetime.”