SHIRLEY, George Irving (1934- )
African-American operatic tenor and professor of music. The first African-American tenor to perform a leading role at The Metropolitan Opera.
ALS – Autograph Letter Signed, one page, 2001, on University of Michigan letterhead. Discusses a book in development on his life and recordings. Nice example of this phenomenally-gifted tenor-academic. Comes with a vintage black and white publicity still of Shirley from 1970 (his performance in The Magic Flute).
Shirley’s recording of Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte garnered him a Grammy Award. He has three times been a master teacher in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program for Young NATS Teachers and taught for 10 years at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Shirley has produced a series of programs for WQXR-FM Radio, New York on “Classical Music and the Afro-American” and hosted a four-hour program series on WETZ-FM Washington DC entitled “Unheard, Unsung.” In 2015 Mr. Shirley received the National Medal of Arts, bestowed upon him by President Barack Obama and, in 2016, he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Opera Association at their annual convention.