CCM is proud to report that countertenor John Holiday (MM Voice, 2012) is the winner of this year’s Marian Anderson Vocal Award, which celebrates the excellence and vocal promise of one young American singer. The award, which was first offered in 2002, is presented by the Kennedy Center and Washington National Opera.
Holiday’s prizes include $10,000 cash and the opportunity to perform a recital on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. He will also have an educational residency at Washington’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts that will include master classes and other workshops for vocal music students at the magnet school.
This is far from the first major award that Holiday has won; he recently won first place in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, he won third prize at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in 2014,
and he was a Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions that same year and he was first place winner in his district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2007. Additionally, he won a 2014 Sara Tucker Grant for young vocal artists and first prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation’s 2013 International Vocal Competition, among other awards. A career highlight includes an invitation by Pope John Paul II to sing as soloist for High Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in 2002.
Holiday’s recent roles include the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at LA Opera and the title role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare at Wolf Trap Opera. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in a performance of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony, and he recently joined the Metropolitan Opera to cover Nireno in Giulio Cesare.
This season, he will appear with the Nashville Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Boston Baroque, the Glimmerglass Festival and Opera Philadelphia.
About Marian Anderson
American contralto Marian Anderson was one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century. She became an important figure in the struggle for African American artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States, when in 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused permission for her to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. With the aid of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. before a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience of millions. She continued to break barriers, becoming the first African American artist to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on January 7, 1955. She later worked for several years as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and for the U.S. Department of State, giving concerts all over the world. She participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, singing at the March on Washington in 1963. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, a Kennedy Center Honors in 1978, the National Medal of Arts in 1986 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.
This story has been updated to reflect a correction in John Holiday’s list of major awards.