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Marian Anderson-70th Anniversary Concert

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Guest PhillyOrchestra

This Easter marks the 70th anniversary of Marian Anderson's legendary concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

It would be nice if people of all ethnicities would take a moment to reflect on the courage, fortitude and hard work that this African-American woman brought to classical music. Others have followed, others will follow. Perhaps not as many as we would like, but we can only hope.

I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Anderson, and she was a beautiful human being. All those in the performing arts should follow her example!

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Yes, indeed. Thanks for posting. There's a new book out on Anderson, too.

Anderson’s concerts, which combined opera arias and German lieder with black spirituals, won over not just crowds and critics but also Europe’s classical music luminaries. After she performed at the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’s country house in 1933, singing his compositions in his native language, he called out for “not coffee, but champagne.”

When Anderson (1897-1993) was smuggled in to sing at the 1935 Salzburg Festival after non-Aryans were banned by the Nazis, Arturo Toscanini was in the audience. “Yours is a voice such as one hears once in a hundred years,” he told her. His words stuck. For the rest of her life Anderson would be referred to as “the voice of the century.”

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When I first started working at Hurok Concerts in New York, Miss Anderson was still traveling and doing "A Lincoln Portrait." I was right out of college and doing the travel arrangements for the solo artists. I remember her well because she was always kind and gentle. After she would travel to a performance, she would take the time to call me to tell me that the arrangements had worked out and how lovely people had been. She saw the better side of people. Miss Anderson will always be in my heart as a great artist who was also a gracious person.

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