Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993) was an American singer of classical music and spirituals. Music critic Alan Blyth said: "Her voice was a rich, vibrant contralto of intrinsic beauty." She performed in concert and recital in major music venues and with famous orchestras throughout the United States and Europe between 1925 and 1965. Although offered roles with many important European opera companies, Anderson declined, as she had no training in acting. She preferred to perform in concert and recital only. She did, however, perform opera arias within her concerts and recitals. She made many recordings that reflected her broad performance repertoire, which ranged from concert literature to lieder to opera to traditional American songs and spirituals. Between 1940 and 1965 the German-American pianist Franz Rupp was her permanent accompanist.

Anderson became an important figure in the struggle for black artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. The incident placed Anderson into the spotlight of the international community on a level unusual for a classical musician. With the aid of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the capital. She sang before an integrated crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions.

Anderson continued to break barriers for black artists in the United States, becoming the first black person, American or otherwise, to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on January 7, 1955. Her performance as Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi's Un ballo in maschera at the Met was the only time she sang an opera role on stage.

Anderson worked for several years as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and as a "goodwill ambassadress" for the United States Department of State, giving concerts all over the world. She participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, singing at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Anderson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, the Congressional Gold Medal in 1977, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1978, the National Medal of Arts in 1986, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 27th, 1897 (Philadelphia), Died April 8th, 1993 (Portland)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1923 - 1938

Roles Represented in DAHR: contralto

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-29072 10-in. 12/10/1923 Deep river Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29073 10-in. 12/10/1923 My way's cloudy Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29689 10-in. 3/24/1924 My Lord, what a mornin' Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29690 10-in. 3/24/1924 Heav'n, heav'n Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29691 10-in. 3/24/1924 Go down Moses (Let my people go) Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29895 10-in. 4/18/1924 Heav'n, Heav'n Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with harp and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29896 10-in. 4/18/1924 Go down Moses Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with harp and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-31346 10-in. 11/21/1924 Nobody knows de trouble I've seen Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-31347 10-in. 11/21/1924 My Lord, what a mornin' Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-98636 12-in. 1/14/1936 City called Heaven Marian Anderson ; Kosti Vehanen Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-98637 12-in. 1/14/1936 Lord, I can't stay away Marian Anderson ; Kosti Vehanen Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-98638 12-in. 1/14/1936 Ave Maria Marian Anderson ; Kosti Vehanen Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-98639 12-in. 1/14/1936 Aufenthalt (My abode) Marian Anderson ; Kosti Vehanen Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor BS-99537 10-in. 2/4/1936 Go down Moses (Let my people go) Marian Anderson ; Kosti Vehanen Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor BS-99538 10-in. 2/4/1936 My soul's been anchored in the Lord Marian Anderson ; Kosti Vehanen Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor BS-99539 10-in. 2/5/1936 Saf, saf, susa Marian Anderson ; Kosti Vehanen Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor BS-99540 10-in. 2/4/1936 Flickam kom ifran sin alsklings mote Marian Anderson ; Kosti Vehanen Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-023462 12-in. 6/1/1938 Crucifixion Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-023463 12-in. 6/1/1938 Oh rock me, Julie Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-023464 12-in. 6/1/1938 Fruhlingstraum Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-023465 12-in. 6/1/1938 Der Doppelganger Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor BS-Test-1055 10-in. 7/28/1933 Der Herrlichste von allen Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Victor [Trial 1923-11-01-02] 10-in. 11/1/1923 Deep river Marian Anderson Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Gramophone Bb14284 10-in. 8/28/1928 Deep river Marian Anderson ; Lawrence Brown Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
Gramophone Bb14285 10-in. 8/28/1928 Heav'n, heav'n! Marian Anderson ; Lawrence Brown Contralto vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Anderson, Marian," accessed November 29, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101956.

Anderson, Marian. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 29, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101956.

"Anderson, Marian." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 29 November 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101956

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.