Jessye Norman

International opera star Jessye Norman passes away, age 74

EarRelevant Staff | 01 OCT 2019

A truly international star, American operatic soprano and recitalist Jessye Mae Norman passed away on Monday morning at age 74 in New York City. The reported official cause of her death was septic shock and multiple organ failure related to complications from a spinal cord injury she sustained in 2015.

In response to Norman’s death, The Metropolitan Opera posted the following on Twitter, Monday evening:

A native of Augusta, Georgia, Norman was one of the leading opera figures of her time, launching her trailblazing career in an era when there were fewer celebrated African-Americans in opera than today.

Norman was recipient of honorary doctorates from more than 30 colleges, universities and conservatories. Among the many awards Norman received during her lifetime are four Grammys plus a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2006), a National Medal of Arts (2009) and the 2013 Spingarn Award from the NAACP. Norman was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honors award in 1997. She was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1999 and the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2002.

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Among her many appearances in Atlanta over the years, Norman was a featured performer during the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

EarRelevant has compiled for its readers several links to national media reports on Norman’s death:

  • SPI10 2024-01-06 ASO
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  • AD ECMSA 2023-24 season