Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897, Philadelphia - April 8, 1993, Portland) - American singer of the 20th century, contralto.
Marian showed her brilliant vocal talent in early childhood. For a colored girl, the only possible way for vocal career was to participate in the activities of the church choir, in which she performed from the age of six, studying and earning her first money. Her two younger sisters also became singers. Mariam father died when she was a young girl. The community where she lived impressed by her first bright achievements collected an impressive amount of money to continue her private musical education.
Marian debuted in 1925 and it was appreciated - the girl won the competition in the New York Philharmonia. Being the winner, Marian gained the right to perform with the orchestra; the performance was very successful, the singer immediately became recognizable and popular. Through the following years, Marian actively performed in her homeland. In 1928, Anderson sang for the first time on the stage of Carnegie Hall, but the racial prejudices that existed at that time hampered her success.
In 1930, her triumphant European tour began in Berlin. Marian continued to improve his skills, took singing lessons from the famous Mahler singer Sarah Charles Caye. In 1935, Anderson gave a concert at the Salzburg Festival. Jean Sibelius dedicated his play “Solitude” to her, and Arturo Toscanini said that such a voice “one can hear once in a century.” In 1934-1935, the singer visited the USSR.
In 1935, a significant meeting between Marian Anderson and the great impresario, immigrant from Russia, Sol Hurok (born Solomon Izrailevich Gurkov) took place in Paris. He managed to change the mentality of Americans taking advantage of the Lincoln Memorial for this. This story is worth mention not just as a step in the career of a famous singer. In 1939, Hurok was trying to organize a performance for Marian in Washington Constitution Hall. Hence, the owners of the hall, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), refused upon the pretext of occupied dates. It was no secret that the real reason was the DAR's policy of racial discrimination. This rejection raised a scandal. Several thousand people left the organization, including the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt that wrote the irate regarding the organization regulations. As a result, Marian was asked to perform a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This landmark event took place on April 9th. 75,000 people attended it, and the national radio broadcasting audience numbered millions of listeners. During the Second World War and the Korean War, Marian Anderson actively performed for the soldiers in the field - at military bases and front-line hospitals. And finally Marian sang in the Washington Constitutional Hall (at the invitation of the DAR)
In 1943, Marian married a friend from the old days architect Orpheus H. Fisher, with whom they lived together for more than fifty years.
In 1955, Marian became the first black singer that performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera. Anderson sang Ulrica the opera “Masked Ball” by Giuseppe Verdi. Anderson never appeared on the Metropolitan stage again, however, she was enlisted to the opera troupe as permanent singer for the life term.
In 1956, Marian published an autobiographical book “My Lord, What a morning” that became a bestseller.
Anderson's repertoire included works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Schubert, Giuseppe Verdi, Camille Saint-Saens, Johann Brahms, Jean Sibelius, Gustav Mahler, as well as African-American spiritual songs (spirituals).
In 1958, she Marian became a UN Goodwill Ambassador. Anderson completely retired from her vocal career in 1965. In 1991, she won the Grammy Award for “The Life in Arts”. In 2005, a postage stamp was issued in her honor. Personal Star in honor of the singer’s contribution to the recording industry was opened in Hollywood Walk of Fame. She received honorary doctorates from Howard University and Temple University.In April 1993, M. Anderson died of heart failure. The studio where the singer worked has been preserved and is opened to the public.