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Marian Anderson Award

A History of The Marian Anderson Award

photo of Marian AndersonThe Award, first bestowed in 1989 by the Marian Anderson Award Foundation, is given to "an American singer of great promise who has already achieved some success in opera, in recital, and in the orchestra/oratorio repertory." In 1996, in order to perpetuate Marian Anderson's name and her musical and humanitarian accomplishments, The Marian Anderson Award Fund was established at The Fairfield County Community Foundation by the Marian Anderson Award Foundation under the leadership of June Goodman of Danbury, Connecticut – a neighbor and friend of Ms. Anderson.

In September 2002 The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Fairfield County Community Foundation initiated a joint collaboration to create a permanent tribute to the historic and artistic achievements of Marian Anderson by presenting a cash award every other year. Award recipients are selected in the spring of the even numbered years and receive the award and perform in recital at the Kennedy Center in the fall of that year.

At this historic event Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser said, "The programs of the Kennedy Center, the nation's center for the performing arts, gain further distinction with the addition of this distinguished award in the name of Marian Anderson, whose life and career stands as an example to all young artists. One of the greatest of American singers, she followed her muse with steadfast courage, and by force of her personality, will, and talent, changed perceptions and opened the door to success for others."

The Marian Anderson Award Recipients

Prior award recipients have been Sylvia McNair, Denyce Graves, Philip Zawisza, Nancy Maltsby, Patricia Racette, Michelle DeYoung, Nathan Gunn, Marguerite Krull, Eric Owens, Lawrence Brownlee, Indira Mahajan, Sasha Cooke, and J'nai Bridges.

2012 Marian Anderson Award Recipient

Photo of J'nai Bridges

J'nai Bridges is the recipient of the 2012 Marian Anderson Award.  Ms. Bridges was recently seen as Caroline Kirchstetten in the Curtis Opera Theatre/Opera Company of Philadelphia production of Elegy for Young Lovers, and will beappearing in Manon Lescaut for the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She sang the role of Mlle. Dangeville in Adriana Lecouvreur with the Opera Orchestra of New York and performed Sea Pictures under the baton of Neeme Jarvi with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. While at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studies with adjunct faculty member Patricia McCaffrey, Ms. Bridges has appeared in Idomeneo, La Tragédie de Carmen, Antony and Cleopatra, La Sonnambula,and The Rake's Progress. Upon graduation Ms. Bridges will join the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she will perform in Elektra, Simon Boccanegra, Rigoletto, and  scenes from Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro during the 2012-2013 season. Ms. Bridges received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music where she was the recipient of the Richard F. Gold Grant and spent two seasons in the ensembles at Glimmerglass Opera and Opera North.  She was also the 2011 winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, the 2009 Harlem Opera Theater Award, and the 2008 Leontyne Price Foundation Competition.

Guidelines of The Marian Anderson Award

The Selection Committee will review and select the recipient of the Marian Anderson Award. Artists are nominated by opera companies, orchestral and choral organizations, agents, professional music critics and other organizations across the country. A cash award of $10,000.00 comes from the Marian Anderson Award Fund at the Fairfield County Community Foundation.

To Submit an Artist for the Marian Anderson Award

Submission of artists to be considered for the 2014 Marian Anderson Award should be received at the Kennedy Center by January 31, 2014. Artists will not be chosen by live audition and candidates may not nominate themselves. The materials required for the submission of an artist should include: a letter of recommendation, a head shot, a resume, and a high quality CD recording of the candidate representing her/his best vocal ability. All materials should be sent to: the Marian Anderson Award, c/o the John F. Kennedy Center for the performing Arts, 2700 F Street, NW, Washington DC 20566. Protect photographs with cardboard, and it is recommended that the materials be sent via FedEx, UPS, or hand delivered as regularly delivered US Postal Service mail is intercepted for security purposes and typically damaged in the process. For further information please call 202.416.8081.

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