Renowned international opera singer Jessye Norman passes away at 74 years old.
What We Know:
- On Monday, September 30, 2019, Jessye Norman passed away at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York surrounded by loved ones. According to the family spokesperson Gwendolyn Quinn, the star died from septic shock and multi-organ failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015.
- Norman was born on Sept. 15, 1945, in Augusta, Georgia and grew up in singing in the church with a musical family of pianists and singers. She studied voice at Howard University in Washington D.C. After graduating, she attended Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the University of Michigan.
- Norman made her opera debut as Elisabeth in Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser in 1969 and had other major roles such as Aïda and Cassandra. She performed around the world on stages in Berlin, Milan, London and New York including the revered houses La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera. She performed the work of many composers not limited to opera and was known as one of the leading sopranos of the world.
- She was awarded a National Medal of Arts and has earned honorary doctorates from a number of prestigious schools, including Juilliard, Harvard, and Yale. She is a member of the British Royal Academy of Music and Georgia Music Hall of Fame. France has named an orchid after her and made her a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
- The star also earned 15 grammys during her time. In 2003, she helped to open the Jessye Norman School of the Arts for economically disadvantaged students in her hometown of Augusta and in 2014 she published a memoir, Stand Up Straight and Sing!
- Norman’s family released this statement: “We are so proud of Jessye’s musical achievements and the inspiration that she provided to audiences around the world that will continue to be a source of joy. We are equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education.”
Arrangements for the funeral will be released this week.