Tribute to Sylvia Olden Lee: Master Musician and Teacher



Tickets Here

On Thursday, June 29, 2017, on the occasion of her 100th birthday, the Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture will celebrate the life and achievements of the inimitable vocal coach, Sylvia Olden Lee.

Ms. Lee was the first African-American employed by the Metropolitan Opera, and the person most directly responsible for "breaking the color line" there. She convinced Rudolf Bing to hire the great Marian Anderson to sing the role of Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi's Un Ballo De Maschera on January 7, 1955. Ms. Anderson's premiere was followed by the hiring of baritone Robert McFerrin 20 days later.

We also intend that on this occasion, to further Sylvia’s life-long endeavor – S.Y.L.V.I.A. (Saving Young Lyric Voices in Advance) - a program named after Sylvia’s mother, soprano, Sylvia Olden, which entailed a comprehensive approach to the teaching of voice-training in the school system through high school age, the maintenance and development of the vocal capabilities of professional singers. Ms. Lee, who died in 2004, was involved in the last decade and a half of her life in a non-stop crusade to re-popularize Classical musical performance and education among all youth. Ironically, because she is thought of as being an important pedagogue for aspiring African-American Classical artists, the significance of Ms. Lee's proposal and work for all youth in the United States, and especially today, have gone unrecognized.

The true, unrecognized significance of Sylvia Olden Lee must be shared with everyone. She is a truly "hidden figure" of Classical music, whose project, S.Y.L.V.I.A. is actually indispensable to the future of the United States, to United States education, and to the resurrection—the "revival"—of the practice of non-violence. It should be the inspiration for a resurgence in the performance of the Classical musical repertoire, including the African-American Spiritual, by "ordinary people," and in educational institutions throughout the United States.

We invite all who share an enthusiasm for this outlook to join us on June 29th at Carnegie Hall and help alert others about it.

Tickets are available, $35-65 on sale through Carnegie Hall HERE.


June 29, 2017 at 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Carnegie Hall
881 7th Ave
Isaac Stern Auditorium
New York, NY 10019
United States
Google map and directions

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2017-05-04 13:13:51 -0400
    I am so excited to know that Sylvia Olden Lee is going to be at Carnegie Hall. What an amazing tribute to her. She was a great inspiration for me when I was younger and growing up. My voice teacher would use her as examples in teaching me not to ever give up, even when it was hard. It would be a dream to meet Sylvia Olden Lee in person!!!

Attend an event Donate Join the Chorus!

get updates