Lifting My Voice: A Memoir
by renowned classical singer and activist Barbara Hendricks
The daughter of an African American Methodist minister and a schoolteacher in segregated Arkansas in the 1950s, Barbara Hendricks grew up to be one of the greatest operatic sopranos in the world, known internationally not only for her talents as a vocalist but also for her compassion as a human rights activist. Hendricks studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York under Jennie Tourel and made her operatic debut at the San Francisco Opera in 1974. From there, her career took off and she performed major opera houses throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and major jazz festivals worldwide. While her impact on music is unquestionable, she has also lifted her voice in defense of human rights and has made a significant difference in the lives of countless refugees—from survivors of Cambodia’s killing fields, to the Rwandan genocide, to sniper alley in Sarajevo. She was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1987 and founded the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation in 1998.
Beginning with her childhood in the Jim Crow South, in Lifting My Voice Barbara traces her path from Juilliard to the opera houses of the world, and later in life, to the United Nations as a Goodwill Ambassador. Growing up witnessing firsthand the painful struggle for civil rights changed how Barbara saw herself in the world. Viewing historical events like The Little Rock Nine entering desegregated Central High School forced her to question at a young age how people learn to live in harmony together. As an adult, her humanitarian work with refugees around the world has defined her as much as her beautiful voice—singing for children in ghettos and serving as Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency for over twenty-six years. Her long-awaited memoir, Lifting My Voice, is a warm, engaging, and honest self-portrait of a great woman of our time who has gone her own way as a woman, as a mother, as an artist and as a citizen. You can learn more about Ms. Hendricks and her mission at barbarahendricks.com.
Praise for Lifting My Voice:
“Articulate, resourceful, kind, and compassionate… Barbara’s glowing presence, both on stage and off, is remarkable.”—Yo-Yo Ma
“Fans of opera and vocal music will enjoy this absorbing narrative, as will anyone who likes to read about strong and accomplished women.” —Library Journal
“An African-American opera star recalls her distinguished career. Hendricks’ accomplishments and sincerity are genuinely laudable.” —Kirkus Reviews
Lifting My Voice: A Memoir
National African American History Month
The National Gallery of Art continues its observance of National African American History Month on February 23, 2014, 6:00 p.m., when soprano Louise Toppin and Leon Bates, one of America's leading pianists, perform a program of spirituals and other music by African American composers in commemoration of the famous recital by Marian Anderson on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF9Quk0QhSE.
The Steinway grand piano that was used in that historic concert by Marian Anderson 75 years ago, will be used for the February 23rd concert. The National Gallery of Art owns the piano; it is heard regularly in concerts in the East Building Auditorium.
All concerts are FREE! First Come, First Seated!
Louise Toppin, soprano
Leon Bates, pianist
Sunday, February 23, 6:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Enter on 6th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW)
Spirituals and other music by African American composers
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of Marian Anderson’s historic 1939 concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
NOTE: Late entry or reentry of the West Building after 6:30 p.m. is not permitted
Come early and have lunch in the Garden Café so you can be in line when the doors open at 6:00 p.m. First come; first seated!
Concerts at the National Gallery are open to the public, free of charge. Admittance is on a first-come, first-seated basis, beginning 30 minutes before each concert. The entrance at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW remains open on Sunday until 6:30 p.m. Families with small children may be asked to sit in designated areas. Please note that late entry or reentry of the West Building after 6:30 p.m. is not permitted. For further information, call (202) 842-6941.
WALLS TUMBLING DOWN PUBLISHING NEW YORK CITY
(EVERY MAJOR OF U.S. MUSIC SCHOOL HAS THIS INFORMATION)
Greetings Black Refer,
I am a advocate against race and color discrimination in the arts. Several years ago, an article I wrote was published in the NEW YORK OPERA NEWSLETTER called "APARTHEID AT LINCOLN CENTER." I have also e-mailed many performing artists, organizations and schools concerning a lawsuit that I filed against New York Metropolitan Opera. A Federal Hearing showed that such comments such as "Black, very Black and bugged-eyed and others" where written about African American singers during their Met auditions. I have also questioned why more female orchestra conductors have not been hired. Women often make up more than half of most major orchestras. More than 50% of the earned doctorates are female.However very few females ever conduct major orchestras.The Federal Hearing concerning this case is now available on Youtube under "Metropolitan Opera Racism Federal Hearing."There is also a Book hard back book called "Exposing Racism and Sexism in the American Arts."
You can purchase this book from Amazon.com for $27.99 plus shipping.
Many have asked about hearing me perform. One of my performances can be heard on Youtube under "Nessun dorma sung by Tony Jenkins." or you can find it on Youtube by typing in Tony Jenkins and scrolling down.
Thanks for your Time !!!!!
All classical artists, particularly African-American artists, have a right to know about the MET OPERA RACISM HEARING. This issues goes directly to the integrity of the arts to which they are sacrificing their lives. This is the only direct evidence that demonstrates that most African-American artist's reject reasons are often racially motivated. This is reject is often the case with African-American males, particularly tenors. Teachers who withhold this evidence from students of all colors demonstrate fraud and shows insecurity. Students of all colors have a right to know this information. The teaching of African-American Artists is that they will be judged on their hard work and artistic abilities.However, the evidence in this hearing speaks for itself and allows you to be the judge.
THIS IS THE MET RACISM HEARING LINK:
THIS IS THE JENKINS NESSUN DORMA LINK:
Dear Sir or Madam,
After entering a search for "black opera singers", I discovered your site, as well as a Youtube lecture series by Bill Doggett on the history of black opera singers. I was thrilled to find that a site that highlights the broad spectrum of human activity in which blacks are passionately engaged, but less often afforded a presence on the stage of public awareness. Thank you for including a reference to our field on your website.
Opera is, along with other live performance genres of the classical arts, having to adapt to the limits imposed by governmental budget cuts in Europe, where I live, and outright loss of funding in the States. Black singers are also experiencing the "pinch" in a shrinking, albeit global market. Our participation outside of traditional Porgy and Bess or Showboat venues is increasingly marginal. I noted that a recent production of a Strauss opera featured a quartet of non-black singers dressed and made up like the Temptations ca. 1963, and the Jackson five of the 70's. The reference was clear and in celebration of both groups, done not in parody, but with honor.
I said jokingly to a friend later, that outside of P& B, I had never seen four black men onstage at the same time in an opera before. That the opera in question featured two Asian singers, was the irony that overshadowed the humor behind my remark. Every opportunity to inform those interested in classical vocal art, that the contributions of black opera singers past and present span the gamut of our field is precious. We as artists also have a responsibility to be pro-active in that regard.
Below, you will find the link to my own website in hopes that I might be included in your section on black opera singers. I am a second generation singer whose mother sang in european houses in the 60's. In the family tradition, I have sought to not only to perform in opera, orchestral concerts or oratorio, but to add to the knowledge base of vocal art by doing special projects. A self-produced CD of the art song of Franz Liszt in the context of the 19th century, was awarded the Diplome d'Honneur in 2009 by the Franz Liszt Society of Budapest in its 34th Grand Prix du Disque for the best Liszt CD's in a given year. Andre Watts is the only other american artist of color to win an award from this organization. I am the only american woman. I hope you will find it an interesting addition to the sites already listed.
I wish you continued success with your objective to do things "out of the box" where innovation is possible. On the world wide web stage, I applaud your efforts.
You Tube Video:
BLACK / AFRICAN AMERICAN OPERA SINGERS
Adele Addison ...
African American opera singer. She is a soprano providing the singing voice for Bess in the 1959 movie Porgy and Bess.
African Heritage in Classical Music.
Americolor Opera ...
Americolor Opera celebrates American culture and music by presenting opera stories or librettos based upon American and Afro-centric culture and experiences.
Barbara Hendricks ...
The greatly admired black American soprano, Barbara Hendricks, received her musical training and her Bachelor of Music at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
Carol Brice ...
The black American contralto, Carol Brice (Lovette Hawkins), received training at the Juilliard School of Music in New York (1939-1943).
Christiane Eda-Pierre ...
Eda-Pierre was born in Fort-de-France, Martinique, and came to France to study at the Paris Conservatory, where she was a pupil of J. Decrais and Charles Panzéra. She graduated with honors in 1957. The same year, she made her professional debut in Nice, as Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles.
Darron Flagg ...
Darron enjoys an ever-growing reputation as an exciting artist. This bel-canto trained tenor is at home in concert, recital and on the operatic stage in leading roles from Mozart to Verdi.
Delcina Stevenson ...
Soprano, Delcina Stevenson, studied privately with Lotte Lehmann, at the Music Academy of the West with Martial Singher and Gwendolyn Koldofsky.
Denyce Graves ...
Denyce Graves is a mezzo soprano and began vocal training at the Duke Ellington School of Arts in Washington in the late 1980s.
Dorothy Maynor ...
The noted black American soprano and music educator, Dorothy Maynor, the daughter and granddaughter of Norfolk clergymen, was one of the most highly praised singers of the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Etta Moten Barnett ...
was an African American actress and contralto singer.
Faye Robinson ...
Faye Robinson is a graduate of Bennett College. She has appeared in opera houses in Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Argentina, among other major cities.
Felicia Weathers ...
Felicia Weathers is a well known internationally opera and concert singer (soprano). Born in St. Louis, Missouri.
Made appearances in Zurich Switzerland, Vienna Austria, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg Germany, Paris France, Oslo Norway, Copenhagen Denmark, Stockholm Sweden, Covent Garden in London England, Mailänder Scala Italy and Metropolitan Opera House, New York.
Hilda Harris ...
Mezzo-soprano Hilda Harris, formerly a leading artist of the Metropolitan Opera.
Hyers Sisters ...
The Hyers Sisters were the first African-American musical-comedy opera team. They joined the Hyers Sisters Comic Opera Co in the late 19th century. They were also known as "Hyers Sisters of California".
Indra Thomas ...
One of the most sought-after sopranos in the world today, Indra Thomas has performed in many of the world's major international opera houses.
Janinah Burnett ...
Janinah Burnett's timeless vocal quality and poignant portrayals in signature roles such as Pamina in Die Zauberflöteare “heart-rendingly touching,” says The Sunday Times (London). The Montreal Gazette agrees, exclaiming she “brought a storytelling quality as well as soprano pyrotechnics to Violetta [in La traviata].” As Mimì in Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of Puccini’s La bohème, Ms. Burnett received tremendous acclaim winning the “Ovation Award” with a record 82 consecutive sold-out shows.
Juanita Hall ...
Juanita Hall is best known today for her roles in the original stage and screen versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals South Pacific and Flower Drum Song.
Kathleen Battle ...
Kathleen Battle is an American soprano, born August 13, 1948, in Portsmouth, Ohio, the youngest of seven children.
La Julia Rhea ...
Was an American operatic soprano, and a pioneering African American figure in Chicago.
Lawrence Winters ...
Lawrence Winters, baritone, was an African American opera singer during the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.
Leona Mitchell ...
Leona Mitchell, known worldwide as one the greatest African-American sopranos to ever perform in opera houses and an Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inductee.
Leontyne Price ...
Mary Violet Leontyne Price born February 10, 1927 is a soprano opera singer, best known for her Verdi roles, above all Aida, a role that she is said to have "owned" for almost 30 years.
Lillian Evanti ...
Born August 12, 1890 – December 6, 1967, was an African American opera singer.
Maria Ewing ...
Maria Ewing is an American opera singer who has sung both soprano and mezzo soprano roles. She is noted as much for her acting as her singing. Ewing was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a Dutch mother and an American father of Sioux Native American, Scottish and African-American ancestry.
Martina Arroyo ...
Martina Arroyo is an American soprano, best known for her performances of the Italian spinto repertoire.
Mattiwilda Dobbs ...
Mattiwilda Dobbs has sung in virtually every major concert hall in the United States and abroad, with her sparkling voice thrilling audiences and astounding critics.
Nicole Cabell ...
A soprano with aristocratic poise, warmth and lyric line, Cabell also proved an actor of sensitivity and credibility.
Paul Robeson ...
Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson was a multi-lingual American actor, athlete, bass-baritone concert singer, writer, civil rights activist, Spingarn Medal winner, and Lenin Peace Prize laureate.
Paul Spencer Adkins ...
A graduate of West Virginia University, the University of the Arts and the Academy of Vocal Arts, Adkins.
Portia White ...
Portia White, a Nova Scotian artist who rose through adversity to achieve international acclaim as a classical singer on the stages of Europe and North America.
Reri Grist ...
A pioneering American soprano who was the first African American to perform in many opera houses in Europe.
Roberta Alexander ...
Roberta Alexander established herself as one of the leading American sopranos in the latter quarter of the 20th century.
Robert McFerrin >...
Robert McFerrin Sr. was an American opera singer who was the first African American male to sing at the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Roland Hayes ...
The tenor Roland Hayes was the first African American man to win international fame as a concert performer.
Ruby Elzy ...
A pioneer African American operatic soprano who created the role of Serena in George Gershwin's folk opera Porgy and Bess.
Shirley Verrett ...
Opera singer Shirley Verrett
born May 31, 1931 is a mezzo-soprano who has enjoyed great fame since the late 1960s, much admired for her radiant voice and great versatility.
Todd Duncan ...
Robert Todd Duncan born February 2, 1903-February 28, 1998 was an African American baritone opera singer and actor.
Wendy Waller ...
Ms. Waller has long had a passion for art song. Throughout her operatic career, Ms. Waller has intentionally devoted equal amounts of time to concert and recital endeavors. Her recital debut took place in New York City, as a sponsored artist of the firm in Steinway Hall.
Wilhelmenia Fernandez ...
Wilhelmenia Fernandez, sometimes billed as Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, American soprano, born in Philadelphia in 1949, became famous as the star of the internationally acclaimed film Diva (1981) by French director Jean-Jacques Beineix.
William Brown ...
William Brown, tenor.
William Franklin ...
Was considered a pioneer African American among the Chicago music scene.
William H. Marshall ...
American actor, director and opera singer. He is best known for his title role in the 1972 blaxploitation classic, Blacula. In some of his films, he was credited as Bill Marshall.
William Warfield ...
William Caesar Warfield, concert baritone singer, was born in West Helena, Arkansas. He gave his recital debut in New York's Town Hall on March 19, 1950.