Renaissance Man

David Latulippe '86 is a musician, and a whole lot more.

by Lorraine Berry


LaTulippe soloing during one of his many TV appearances

A quick look at the website of David Latulippe '86 reveals that he is a professional flutist, singer, narrator, and commercial voice-over artist. Read a little further and you also discover that he developed "unique computer-projected super titles" for several operas so that audiences in Brooklyn could better understand what they were watching and listening to. He taught music appreciation at Brooklyn College. And he subbed as an on-air radio host at New York's popular public radio station WNYC.

Such a variety of interests surely give one leave to proclaim Latulippe a "Renaissance man" --- someone who successfully pursues various intellectual activities. But perhaps the work for which he's had the widest audience is as musical adviser to famed film (The Graduate, Silkwood, Working Girl, Primary Colors) and theater director Mike Nichols --- first on the Emmy Award-winning HBO movie Wit, starring Emma Thompson, and now for the HBO production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America.

Latulippe explains how that association came to be. "While at my job at Brooklyn College, I responded to what looked like a request from some grad student in film: 'classical music expert sought for film project.' I was going to either throw the late-afternoon fax away or pass it on to someone, but decided to call the number indicated to find out just what they were looking for. Without being direct, they said they were looking for someone who knew a lot about classical music. Well, heck: my IC degree, the facts that I had taught music appreciation at BC, that I was a professional freelance musician, [and that I] was on the radio as a substitute host for WNYC all seemed apropos. They suggested I fax a résumé. I then got a call saying, 'Mike Nichols might call you over the weekend,' and that the project was Wit. After playing phone tag that weekend, we finally connected. In the meantime I had gotten Wit out of the library and was poring through the Holy Sonnets of John Donne [the play's main character is a Donne scholar who is dying of ovarian cancer; the Holy Sonnets are Donne's meditations on death] when Mike called. I indicated that I was reading the sonnets to my cat, who remained indifferent. He said, 'Yes, they're rather difficult, aren't they?' or something to that effect. Eventually a great rapport developed. It has indeed been an honor and a pleasure to work with such an amazing icon of our time."

With Bob Carabia '64 at the Mount Washington Hotel

For a man who has so many professional interests, Latulippe says that flute playing remains his passion. He and his partner, Ronn Seely, moved to San Francisco last year to take advantage of a career opportunity for Seely, and Latulippe has become part of the Bay Area musical scene. In May he premiered works for clarinet and flute written by Ubaldo Leli, a composer-psychiatrist, and he recently played in the pit for an original musical comedy written by local composer Anne Nygren-Doherty.

Each summer, on the other side of the country, Latulippe continues a personal tradition with an IC connection --- he performs chamber music concerts at the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire. He originally went because his friend Darmon Meader '84 (who would go on to found and lead the famed New York Voices) was the choral director for the Brettonians, a singing/performing staff ensemble at the hotel. In 1985 Latulippe auditioned and became part of the troupe for that year. Every summer since, he has returned to play flute. Last year he and the hotel's current musical director, Bob Carabia '64, discovered that they shared a connection as IC alumni.

Latulippe intends to keep his hand in all his varied artistic pursuits. From the Golden Gate to the Granite State, this Renaissance man represents the wealth of IC's artistic traditions.



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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 28 October, 2003