African-American opera singer Grace Bumbry visits Tbilisi (April 30)

African-American opera singer Grace Bumbry visits Tbilisi (April 30)

 

TBILISI, April 30, 2018 – The U.S. Embassy is pleased to bring African-American opera singer Grace Bumbry to Tbilisi as one of the judges for Opera Crown, the first international voice competition in Tbilisi, Hosted by the Opera and Ballet State Theater and partially sponsored by the U.S. Embassy.  Ms. Bumbry will host a discussion with students about her life as a minority in the arts and conduct a master class with Georgian vocal students today at 16:00 at the V. Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire.

Grace Bumbry is an American opera singer considered to be one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation.  She is a leading African-American opera singer and opened the door for future minority performers.  Ms. Bumbry was born in 1937 in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of a railroad porter a school teacher.  At age 17 she won a scholarship to the local music conservatory on a radio singing contest, but the conservatory was segregated and would not accept a black student.  The contest promoters arranged for her to study at Boston University College of Fine Arts instead.

Ms. Bumbry has been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame and bestowed the UNESCO Award, the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Academy of Music of the West, Italy’s Premio Giuseppe Verdi, and was named Commandeur des Arts et Lettres by the French government.  In 2009 she received the Kennedy Center Honors for her contribution to the performing arts.