A native New Yorker, Caryn Hartglass was born in Bronxville, NY. Her parents, Lois and Hal Hartglass, courted each other singing standards made famous by singers like Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughn. Listen to Caryn’s father Harold Hartglass singing:
When Caryn was three the growing Hartglass family moved to a home on Long Island. Caryn and her older sister Lori learned to sing from her parents.
Caryn was mentored early in activism by her sister. Lori directed musical shows in their backyard that they would perform in together for the neighbors and raise money for cancer research and muscular dystrophy. (Lori Hartglass, now a lawyer, has been fundraising since 1989 in pursuit of a cure for cystic fibrosis.)
A few years later Caryn’s brother Barry was born which completes the musical family of five. (Check out Barry Hartglass’ work at BarryHartglass.com.)
Caryn went to Half Hollow Hills High School and when she was about 15 years old she announced to her family that she wanted to be a vegetarian. There was little information available about vegetarian nutrition at the time and her parents were very concerned for her health. Caryn’s mother took her to the family physician. The physician’s arrogant and patronizing demeanor catapulted Caryn further into the world of vegetarianism. The part of the doctor’s diagnosis that was the most illogical was when he insisted that eating meat was beneficial for animals, because more were given the chance to live. He also said it was healthy to eat meat. Interestingly, Caryn’s persistent stomach ailments, anemia and the premenstrual moodiness she was experiencing at the time all disappeared with the plant-based diet.
While attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and majoring in chemical engineering, Caryn was the lead singer in two rock bands and played the local club circuit. After graduating from Bucknell with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in chemical engineering, Caryn pursued a career spanning 20 years in Photomaskmaking, a specialized area of the semiconductor industry, primarily in California. She had her own consulting business with clients around the globe. While employed as an engineer, Caryn continued to actively pursue her passion for singing delving deeper into the performing arts by performing on the legitimate stage. She began her career in amateur theater while in elementary school and quickly worked her way up to semi-professional theater and finally found herself starring nationally in musical theater and internationally singing opera in Europe.
While living in France she studied with Mady Mesplé, France’s most famed lyric coloratura while studying French and German. An incredibly driven multi-tasker, Caryn continued her chemical engineering consulting and also gave concerts and participated in vocal competitions. During this time she won two international vocal competitions, one in France and one in South Africa, and recorded a CD with the French company, Ligia Digital. Caryn is a proud member of both American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Actors’ Equity.
With a passion for helping people understand the effects of food choices on health and environment, she ran the nonprofit EarthSave International as Executive Director for over 8 years. An ovarian cancer survivor, Caryn combines science with practical knowledge from real life experiences lecturing around the world about the powerful, healing benefits of a plant-based diet, juicing and meditation. She has appeared on Dr. Oz, Geraldo At Large, 20-20 and CNN and hosts the weekly podcast It’s All About Food (since 2009) on the Progressive Radio Network. She is the co-founder of the nonprofit organization Responsible Eating And Living (REAL) which delivers easy to use, factual information and services, providing inspiration to take responsibility to nourish, protect and support ourselves, our families and the Earth with whole, plant-based foods and planet-friendly products. Caryn’s co-directed nutrition programs at the Food Revolution Network with Ocean and John Robbins and edited the Food Revolution Family Cookbook. She obtained the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate from eCornell and T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, and the Food Protection Certificate from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She and her life partner Gary De Mattei are the creators of “Hartglass & De Mattei, The Swingin’ Gourmets,” the vegan cabaret musical and the documentary, The Lone Vegan, Preaching to the Fire.
Caryn is a contributing author to 25 Women Who Survived Cancer: Notable Women Share Inspiring Stories of Hope, a book of essays by notable women writing about surviving cancer, published by Sellers Publishing. Other contributors include Robin Roberts, Fran Drescher, Patti LuPone, Alice Hoffman, Sylvia McNair, Barbara Padilla, Marissa Jaret Winokur, and Liz Lange. All royalties are donated to cancer research and prevention.