Award winning opera star Jessye Norman died September 30 as a result of complications from a spinal cord injury sustained in 2015. The 74 year old Norman died in New York City only two weeks after her 74th birthday.

Among her numerous performances; Norman performed in “Alceste”, “Ask Your Mama”, “12 Moods”, “Carmen”, ″Aida”, “ Les Troyens”, and “Tannhäuser”.

Her concert appearances include the Ravinia Festival, the Montreaux Jazz Festival, San Sebastian Heineken Jazzaldia, and numerous concert halls around the world including over 80 performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

During her career, Norman has shared the stage with Aretha Franklin, Carlos Santana, Garth Brooks, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Wyclef Jean, Talib Kweli, Usher, Ludacris, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Joss Stone.

Norman’s accomplishments include four Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, is a Kennedy Center Honour, has won the National Medal of Arts, has a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters from France, is a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the British Royal Academy of Music,

A pioneer and diverse singer, Nrman once said, “Pigeonholing is only interesting to pigeons.”

An advocate of diversity and the arts, Norman gave back by opening a school for the arts and helped to raise funds for scholarships.

Jessye Mae Norman was born September 15, 1945 in the segregated south in the city of Augusta, Georgia and grew up singing in the church. She earned a scholarship to study music at Howard University (a Historically Black College/University) in Washington, DC and later went to the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan.

She made her operatic debut in 1969 and took the world by storm.

Jessye Norman is survived by her siblings James and Elaine.


feature photo credit: By Jati Lindsay – This file has been extracted from another file: Jessye Norman- In Conversation with Tom Hall (15952002266).jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0,