Opera Phenom Jessye Norman Dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Jessye Norman, the renowned international opera star whose passionate soprano voice won her four Grammy Awards and the National Medal of Arts, has died, according to family spokesperson Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 74.


A statement released to The Associated Press on Monday said Norman died at 7:54 a.m. EDT from septic shock and multi-organ failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015. She died at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York, and was surrounded by loved ones.
Norman was reared in a musical family. Both her mother and grandmother were pianists and her father sang in church, as did the young Jessye. She won a scholarship to Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she studied voice. She graduated in 1967 and received further training at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland, and at the University of Michigan.

Norman also enjoyed success as a recitalist with her thorough scholarship and her ability to project drama through her voice. She toured throughout the 1970s, giving recitals of works by Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler, Wagner, Johannes Brahms, Erik Satie, Olivier Messiaen, and several contemporary American composers. By the mid-1980s she was one of the most popular and highly regarded dramatic soprano singers in the world. She produced numerous award-winning recordings, and many of her performances were televised.

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