The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today named mezzo-soprano J'nai Bridges the recipient of the 2012 Marian Anderson Award, a biennial award of $15,000 given to an American singer in mid-career. Bridges will perform in recital in the Terrace Theater on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 6 p.m. The concert is part of the Kennedy Center's free Millennium Stage series and will be streamed live and archived for future viewing on the Kennedy Center website.
J'nai Bridges was recently seen as Caroline Kirchstetten in the Curtis Opera Theatre/Opera Company of Philadelphia production of Elegy for Young Lovers, and will be appearing in Manon Lescaut for the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She sang the role of Mlle. Dangeville in Adriana Lecouvreur with the Opera Orchestra of New York and performed Sea Pictures under the baton of Neeme Jarvi with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. While at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studies with adjunct faculty member Patricia McCaffrey, Ms. Bridges has appeared in Idomeneo, La Tragédie de Carmen, Antony and Cleopatra, La Sonnambula, and The Rake's Progress. Upon graduation Ms. Bridges will join the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she will perform in Elektra, Simon Boccanegra, Rigoletto, and scenes from Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro during the 2012-2013 season. Ms. Bridges received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music where she was the recipient of the Richard F. Gold Grant and spent two seasons in the ensembles at Glimmerglass Opera and Opera North. She was also the 2011 winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, the 2009 Harlem Opera Theater Award, and the 2008 Leontyne Price Foundation Competition.
In order to perpetuate Marian Anderson's name and her musical and humanitarian accomplishments, The Marian Anderson Award Fund was established at The Fairfield County Community Foundation in 1996 by the Marian Anderson Award Foundation, under the leadership of the late June Goodman-a Danbury, Connecticut friend and neighbor of Marian Anderson. The Award, first bestowed in 1989 by the Marian Anderson Award Foundation, is given to an American singer of great promise who has already achieved some success in opera, in recital, and in the orchestra/oratorio repertory. The Kennedy Center has established a committee of music experts to identify and select the recipients of the Marian Anderson Award who have been nominated by opera companies, orchestral and choral organizations, agents, professional music critics, and other organizations across the country. This year's selection committee included Sarah Billinghurst, JoAnn Falletta, Patricia Racette, Marietta Simpson, and Frederica von Stade.
Prior award recipients include Sylvia McNair (1990), Denyce Graves (1991), Philip Zawisza (1992), Nancy Maultsby (1993), Patricia Racette (1994), Michelle deYoung (1995), Nathan Gunn (1996), Marguerite Krull (1997), Eric Owens (2003), Lawrence Brownlee (2006), Indira Mahajan (2008), and Sasha Cooke (2010).
Information may be found on the Kennedy Center website: http://www.kennedycenter.org/programs/awards/marian.html.