Photo of Marilyn Horne
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor of Voice


Called perhaps "the most influential singer in American History" by Opera News, Marilyn Horne continues to be one of America’s most beloved artists. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October 2009 and the next month was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors. President Clinton named her a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995. In 1992, she received the National Medal of the Arts from President Bush and the Endowment for the Arts. Horne sang at the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton White Houses and at President Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

In 2000, Horne stopped programming classical repertoire in recital and began to offer programs that reflect her deep and abiding interest and experience in American folk and popular songs. In collaboration with Tony Award-winning pianist, arranger, and conductor Don Pippin, she presents to this day "An Evening of Great American Popular Songs."

In October 2000, Horne returned to the town of her birth, Bradford, Pennsylvania, where a street on the public square was named in her honor. On that occasion, she also performed in the opening season gala for the Bradford Creative and Performing Arts Center, where she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Distinction from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Actively dedicated to excellence in vocal art, Horne has ongoing commitments for private teaching and master classes throughout the world. In addition to her annual residency at Oberlin, she is on the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California.

Recent and very special milestones and achievements for Horne include being a recipient of the prestigiousOpera News Award, the highest honor given within the opera industry. In January 2014, she celebrated her 80th birthday and the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, dedicated to the art of the vocal recital and presentation of young singers in recital throughout the United States. In July 2010, the foundation’s programs became part of the venerable Carnegie Hall.

Among Horne’s many worldwide prizes are the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters from France’s Ministry of Culture, the Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, the Fidelio Gold Medal from the International Association of Opera Directors, and the Covent Garden Silver Medal for Outstanding Service. Horne’s international success in the most difficult of coloratura mezzo-soprano roles led to the revival of many of Rossini’s and Handel’s greatest operas. In an unprecedented move, Horne received Italy’s first Rossini Medaglia d’Oro, created especially for her.

Horne has earned Grammy Awards for her recordings of Handel’s Semele (Deutsche Grammaphon), Presenting Marilyn HorneIn Concert at the Met with Leontyne Price and Marilyn Horne, and Carmen (conducted by Leonard Bernstein).