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Grace Bumbry - Mezzo Soprano

“God has already planted that in your throat. It’s your job to free it up, to allow that beautiful thing to shine through.”

Grace Bumbry was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She became interested in music at a young age and at 16, she was encouraged to enter the local radio competition where she won first place. Ms. Bumbry went on to study at Boston University and Northwestern University where she studied with Lotte Lehman.

*She is the first African American singer to perform a lead role at Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which was originally met with opposition due to the color of her skin. She then went on to become one of the most celebrated opera singers of our time. Bumbry is still blazing trails in the music world. She is also a much sought-after jury member of international vocal competitions. In December 2009 Grace Melzia Bumbry received the most prestigious and coveted award in America for one’s contribution to the arts, The Kennedy Center Honors: a landmark moment that once again epitomizes Bumbry’s tradition for firsts. She received this honor and celebration at the hands of President Barack Obama, America’s first African American president, at the first Kennedy Center Honors award ceremony that he officiated.


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