Soprano Barbara Hendricks is a renaissance woman of our era. It began in Arkansas where she was born, but by the time she was twenty she had gone to the University of Nebraska accomplishing her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Chemistry! After working with an internationally renowned vocal coach at the Aspen Music Festival, it was decided from there that singing was to be her life, and she went on to Julliard to study with Jennie Tourel for a second Bachelor of Music.
She made her American and European Operatic debuts in 1974 at the San Francisco Opera and at the Glyndebourne Festival and went on to appear at all the major opera houses throughout the world, including the Paris Opera, the Met, Covent Garden and La Scala. Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro was her debut role in Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich, as well as the role she sang in the last performances conducted by the late Karl Böhm.
Ms. Hendricks has more than twenty active roles in her operatic repertoire, twelve of which she has already recorded. They range from Pamina in Die Zauberflöte to roles in the French classics, including Antonia in Les Contes d'Hoffman and Micaela in Bizet's Carmen.
Her recital work began with her 1974 New York Town Hall debut, and since then she has been acclaimed as one of the leading and most active recitalists of her generation. In addition to her vast repertoire of German Lieder she is also known as a leading interpreter and staunch promoter of French, American, and Scandinavian music. She is one of today's best-selling recording artists and has made nearly 80 recordings with conductors like Barenboim, Bernstein, Davis, Dorati, Giulini, Haitink, Karajan, Maazel, Mehta, Sawallisch, and Solti on EMI, DGG, ERATO, DECCA, PHILIPS, CBS, SONY, TELARC, and RCA.
Of her human rights activities she has nearly twenty years of service to the cause of refugees. Thanks to her untiring support for the UNHCR she has been named Honorary Ambassador for Life by the organization. She will be given special tasks by the UNHCR that demand her long, unparalleled experience and commitment.
At the end of 1991 and 1993 she gave two solidarity concerts in war-ridden former Yugoslavia. In 1998 she founded the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation to personalize her struggle for the prevention of conflicts in the world and to facilitate reconciliation and enduring peace where conflicts have already occurred. In 2001, at the special request of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kofi Annan, she sang for the Nobel Prize ceremony and gala concert in Oslo.
She has lived in Europe since 1977 and is a Swedish citizen. She and her husband have three children.
The Black Arts-National City Artist of the Month is presented with the sponsorship of National City, now a part of PNC, dedicated to supporting the communities they serve.