Gregory Gardner (1950- )

Gregory Gardner
Gregory Gardner
Courtesy of Gregory Gardner

Opera singer Gregory Gardner was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on July 31, 1950, to Earl Gardner, a singer from Aliceville, Alabama, and Dorothy Davis Gardner, a soprano and piano player from Norfolk. Gregory was one of nine kids. He was introduced to piano studies at 15. Gregory’s early education began at Titustown Elementary School in 1956. Roberts attended Northside Junior High School and was active in the school chorus. In 1968, he graduated from Granby High School in Norfolk, where he was a member of the Granby High School Chorus, a soloist, and a lead actor in the Senior Class Play. Upon graduating, he enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C. At Howard, Gardner was under the tutelage of Louise Burge in voice and Carolyn Grant, who taught him vocal pedagogy and diction. In addition, he was a member of the HU Concert Choir under the leadership of Warner Lawson, Evelyn Davidson White, and J. Weldon Norris.

In 1972, Gardner received a Bachelor of Music as his principal instruments were voice and piano. He earned a Master of Music in vocal performance from Howard in 1974. After leaving D.C., he performed in Scott Joplin’s Tree Monisha with the Houston Grand Opera Association on Broadway in 1975. In addition, Gardner’s post-graduate studies included the Académie Maurice Ravel in St. Jean-de-Luz, France, in 1977, das Sommer-Gesangsinstitut in Graz, Austria in 1978, and Chautauqua Music School in 1979, the Boris Goldovsky Opera Institute, 1980, and Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1992.

Gardner debuted as Tom in George Gershwin’s Blue Monday with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall in 1998 and performed the title role in the North of England Festival Chorus’ production of Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah in 1999. In 2004, he was Marco in Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Forest Park Opera in New York, and in 2005, he performed the role of legendary John Lewis in the musical The Life of Civil Rights Icon Dorothy Height If This Hat Could Talk, directed by Tony Award-winning director George Faison.

In 2012, he was appointed voice instructor at Norfolk State University (NSU) and was the Division of Music coordinator from 2016 to 2021. He is currently an assistant professor and coordinator of the Voice Area. He has served as a guest artist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Huntington Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestras of Hampton University and Old Dominion University. Moreover, Gregory Gardner has conducted Master Classes and clinics at the Istituto Internazionale di Musica Estiva in La Mortella, Ischia, Italy, Norfolk’s Governor’s School of the Arts, Coastal Carolina University, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.