Lindsey Christiansen, 70

Lindsey Christiansen

Lindsey Christiansen, age 70, passed away on March 1, 2017, Ash Wednesday, peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends, after a five-month journey with brain cancer.
Lindsey was Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University for 40 years, from 1977 to 2017, and chair of the Voice and Piano Department for 18 years. She was an ardent performer and teacher of Art Song, and leader of Westminster’s annual Art Song Festival, a celebration of the union of poetry and song. She specialized in German lieder and was a life-long student and lover of the music of Franz Schubert.
Lindsey was an exceptional voice teacher and a demanding professor of song literature classes, where she instilled in countless students a love for song. She taught thousands of young singers over her more than 45-year teaching career to find their voice, believe in their potential and flourish as musicians, teachers, performers and human beings. Her example has shaped a generation of voice teachers who are now inspiring the lives and voices of their students, Lindsey’s musical grandchildren.
Born Alice Lindsey Peters on October 3, 1946 in Roanoke, Va. to Alice and Howard Peters, she was the eldest of four children. As a young girl, she played piano and sang in churches served by her father, a Methodist minister in Virginia. It was these early experiences of music in the church that led her to devote her life to the study, teaching and making of music.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from University of Richmond, and completed her master’s degree in voice and organ from University of Illinois. She then taught as a part of the voice faculty at University of North Carolina at Greensboro and studied at the Hochschulle für Musik in Hamburg, Germany for a year as a part of an International Rotary Foundation Fellowship. She was twice an artist-in-residence for voice study at the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, Austria.
She met her husband, Knud Christiansen, in 1975 during the year she was in Germany. They were married the next year in Williamsburg, Va., and then moved to Princeton, N.J., where they raised their two children, Molly and Andreas. A voracious reader of theology, from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ethics to Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward, she was an elder at Nassau Presbyterian Church and, in her last year, a member of the choir at Trinity Episcopal Church. As her own grandmother had been a guiding light throughout her life, so she became an extraordinary grandmother to her three granddaughters, singing regularly to Maya, Anna and Hazel.
Lindsey Christiansen was a brilliant teacher and extraordinary musician, but she will be most remembered for her infectious energy, grace, strength, intellect, wit, joy for life, and generosity. Her strong, loving, vibrant spirit will continue to resound for years and years to come in the lives of those she taught and the lives of those she touched.
In addition to her husband, children and grandchildren, she is also survived by her brother John Peters, her sisters Mary Lee Peters and Liza Peters, her son-in-law John Gearen and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service in celebration of Lindsey Christiansen’s life will be held at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, New Jersey, on Saturday, March 25th at11am.
To honor her life and legacy, memorial contributions can be made to the Lindsey Christiansen Art Song Festival Endowed Fund, which has been established in her honor to sustain the study and performance of art song. Donations can be made online at or sent to Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Attn: Art Song Festival, 101 Walnut Lane, Princeton NJ 08540.