George Shirley is one of America’s most versatile tenors. He is in demand nationally and internationally as a performer, teacher, and lecturer. He was the first African-American tenor and second African-American male to sing leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, where he remained for eleven years as leading artist.
Has won international acclaim for his performances with the Royal Opera (Covent Garden, London), Deutsche Oper (Berlin), Teatro Colòn, (Buenos Aires), Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam), L’Opéra (Monte Carlo), New York City Opera, Scottish Opera (Glasgow), Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, and Santa Fè Opera, among others. Mr. Shirley has recorded for RCA, COLUMBIA, DECCA, ANGEL, VANGUARD, and PHILIPS; he received a GRAMMY AWARD in 1968 for his role (FERRANDO) in the prize-winning RCA recording of Mozart’s COSÌ FAN TUTTE.
George Shirley has performed more than 80 operatic roles over the span of his 57-year career, as well as oratorio and concert literature with some of the world’s most renowned conductors including, among others, Solti, Klemperer, Stravinsky, Ormandy, von Karajan, Colin Davis, Böhm, Ozawa, Leinsdorf, Boulez, Bernstein, and Maazel. He is the Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Voice at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. In October 2015, he was awarded the 2014 National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.