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Fri, 08.13.1948

Kathleen Battle, Concert Soprano born

Kathleen Battle

*Kathleen Battle was born on this date in 1948. She is a Black concert soprano.

From Portsmouth, Ohio, Kathleen (Deanna) Battle studied with Franklin Bens and earned her bachelor's (1970) and master's (1971) degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.  She made her professional singing debut at the Spoleto Festival in Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem under the direction of Thomas Schippers. Her Metropolitan Opera debut came five years later in Wagner's Tannhäuser. Battle has been awarded six honorary doctoral degrees.

Her lyric soprano voice and exceptional artistry have made her one of the most acclaimed singers in the last 60 years. She has appeared on the stages of the world's leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the opera houses of Vienna, Paris, San Francisco, and Chicago.  Battle has performed with the world's great orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and others.  She has also sung at numerous festivals. Battle's appearance on the PBS broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's 1991 season-opening won her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Classical Program on Television in the USA.

In 1995, she released her first crossover album, So Many Stars. Jazz musicians Grover Washington Jr., Cyrus Chestnut, Christian McBride, James Carter, and others joined her. This effort was a collection of lullabies, spirituals, and folksongs. In conjunction with the disc's release, she opened Jazz at Lincoln Center's 1995-96 seasons with a concert of spirituals, Duke Ellington's music, and the album selections.

A five-time Grammy Award winner, the soprano’s most recent recordings are Mozart: Don Giovanni (DVD), 2000. Kathleen Battle: A Portrait Mythodea — Music for the NASA Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey 2001 Vangelis: Mythodea Mozart: Coronation Mass, K.317 (DVD). 150th Anniversary of the Wiener Philharmoniker, 2002 and Symphonies Nos. 1-10 & Kindertotenlieder Jubilee Edition 2003.

In recital, Battle has toured extensively throughout the USA, Canada, South America, Europe, and the Far East, performing regularly in such music capitals as New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D. C., Paris, London, Vienna, Berlin, Tokyo, and Milan.

In 2010, Battle appeared in a piano-voice recital, including a recital of works by Schubert, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff in Costa Mesa, California, accompanied by Olga Kern (February 2010) and a recital in Carmel, Indiana, accompanied by Joel A. Martin (April 2013).  After a 22-year absence from the Metropolitan Opera House, Battle performed a concert of spirituals at the Met in November 2016. 

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