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William Warfield (1920 - 2002)

Acclaimed throughout the world as one of the great vocal artists of our time, William Warfield is a star in every field open to a singer’s art. His recital début of 19th March, 1950, in New York’s famous Town Hall put this artist overnight into the front ranks of concert artists. William Warfield was born in West Helene, Arkansas on 22nd January, 1920, the eldest of five sons. He won first place in the St. Louis Finals, with a scholarship to any American music school of his choice. Warfield chose the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, in his home city. There he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, and after four years in military service, he returned to Eastman to study for his Masters, with an engagement to sing the lead in the national touring company of the Broadway hit Call Me Mister. The intervening years have seen his career expand and deepen without interruption in countless concerts and recitals, with many impressive honors and awards in recognition of his important contribution to the arts. For a good many years, William Warfield has dedicated time and devotion to the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM). In March 1984 he was the winner of a Grammy Award in the “Spoken Word” category for his outstanding narration of Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait. In 1975, he accepted an appointment as Professor of Music at the University on Illinois (Champaign-Urbana Campus), and since 1994, he has served as a professor at Northwestern University.



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