Jacobs School of Music alumna Angela Brown receives Governor's Arts Award
Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced July 10 that Indiana University Jacobs School of Music alumna Angela Brown is among the recipients of the 2009 Governor's Arts Awards.
Originally conceived in 1973, the biennial awards program honors individuals, organizations, partnerships, businesses and communities that have made significant contributions to the arts in and beyond Indiana.
The Indiana Governor's Awards have been previously awarded to a number of faculty and alumni of the IU Jacobs School of Music, including pianist Menahem Pressler, saxophonist Jamey Aebersold, choral conductor Henry Leck, violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Janos Starker, jazz educator, composer, and cellist David N. Baker, Dean Emeritus Charles H. Webb, violinist Josef Gingold and Dean Emeritus Dean Bain.
According to the IAC's news release, "Miss Brown's 2004 Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of Aida garnered instant attention from national and international print and broadcast media and catapulted her on to the world's prestigious opera and symphonic stages. This award-winning performing and recording artist is also a trail blazer on a mission to bring operatic and classical vocal performance to the masses through her unique recital program, 'Opera from a Sistah's Point of View.' Her awe-inspiring performance and zany opera plot descriptions resonate with a wide range of audiences and create a fresh awareness of the social and geographic diversity portrayed in this art form."
"It is a great thrill and honor to receive the Governor's Arts Award, the highest arts award in my state," said Brown. "When I think of the other recipients, I am certainly proud to be part of such an illustrious group, many of whom are also directly associated with the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music."
The five recipients will be honored during a special performance ceremony on Sept. 25 at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts in Muncie.
The award comes amidst a flurry of activity in Brown's burgeoning career.
Adding to the Indianapolis native's string of honors, Brown will receive the Spirit of the Prairie Award from Conner Prairie on Sept. 12. Also in her hometown, Brown will make a special concert appearance at the 40th Anniversary of IUPUI celebration on Sept. 11 at the Madame Walker Theater and sing the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos with Indianapolis Opera in October.
Abroad, upcoming engagements include singing the role of Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera at Hamburg Opera in Germany in October and again in her Vienna State Opera debut in November.
Brown's career began as a young girl in Indianapolis, where she sang gospel music in her grandfather's Baptist church and in talent and variety shows held at places like the Indianapolis Civic Theatre. She continued to develop her voice in classes with Ginger Beazley at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., where she was a Michael Jackson Scholarship recipient and hoped to become a singing evangelist.
However, Beazley recognized Brown's superior classical singing ability and guided her to Indiana University and the internationally renowned soprano and Distinguished Professor Virginia Zeani.
With Zeani's encouragement, Brown went on to win the 1997 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She was instantly catapulted to stardom after her 2004 Met debut as Aida.