JESSYE NORMAN is “one of those once-in-a-generation singers who is not simply following in the footsteps of others, but is staking out her own niche in the history of singing.” This rich history continues to be made as she brings her sumptuous sound, her joy of singing and spontaneous passion to recital performances, operatic portrayals and appearances with symphony orchestras and chamber music collaborators to audiences around the world. The sheer size, power, and luster of her voice share equal acclaim with that of her thoughtful music-making, innovative programming of the classics, and fervent advocacy of contemporary music. Miss Norman’s innovative collaborations with artists on the cutting-edge in their fields, as Robert Wilson, Andre Heller, Bill T. Jones and Steve McQueen serve to add new dimensions and exciting new challenges to her work. Her recent performances of a staged version of Schubert’s WINTERREISE by Robert Wilson and the unique double-bill of ERWARTUNG of Schoenberg and LA VOIX HUMAINE of Poulenc staged by André Heller, allow Miss Norman to continue the singular expansion and deepening of her artistic vision.
The integrity and depth of Jessye Norman’s performances are often characterized as in a NEW YORK TIMES article, which stated,: “This is an amazing voice, a catalogue of all that is virtuous in singing.” “The immensity of her voice struck like a thunderbolt…It was like an eruption of primal power.” THE JERUSALEM POST.
In September of 2003, the Jessye Norman School of the Arts in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia opened its doors to talented middle school students for studies in music performance, drama, dance and art. The students attend this after-school program tuition-free. A fellowship and master class series in her name established recently at the University of Michigan School of Music further attest to Miss Norman’s encouragement and support of emerging talent.
Miss Norman is the recipient of many awards and honors. In December of 1997, she was invested with the United States highest award in the performing arts, the Kennedy Center Honor, making history as the youngest recipient in the Honors’ twenty-year existence. Her many other prestigious distinctions include honorary doctorates at some thirty colleges, universities and conservatories around the world.