Kathleen Battle (1948- )

American soprano Kathleen Battle was born on August 13, 1948 in Portsmouth, Ohio. Battle’s father was a steelworker and her mother was an active participant in the gospel choir at the family’s local African Methodist Episcopal Church. Battle attended Portsmouth High School and upon graduation … Read MoreKathleen Battle (1948- )

Measha Brueggergosman (1977- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain Measha Brueggergosman, Canada’s most recognizable young opera star, is working hard to bring classical music to a popular audience.  The Canadian soprano has emerged as one of the most magnificent performers and vibrant personalities of the day. She is critically acclaimed … Read MoreMeasha Brueggergosman (1977- )

Jessye Norman (1945-2019 )

Best known as an opera singer, Jessye Norman also lent her rich, dramatic, and powerful voice to recordings and recitals of spirituals and hymns—including a particularly compelling version of “Amazing Grace,” Christmas carols, and jazz recordings. She never limited herself to any one musical genre, … Read MoreJessye Norman (1945-2019 )

Marie Selika Williams (ca. 1849-1937)

In 1878 soprano Marie Selika Williams, known as the “queen of staccato,” became the first black artist to perform at the White House.  Marie Selika was born c. 1849 in Natchez, Mississippi.  Shortly after her birth, Selika’s family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where, as a … Read MoreMarie Selika Williams (ca. 1849-1937)