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Howard University Joins The Denyce Graves Foundation partnership with The Metropolitan Opera, HBCUs and America’s most preeminent conservatories

Trumpet Player in front of Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts

Washington - Shared Voices is a contemporary classical music program for undergraduate and graduate students, which is reminiscent of the rich history and connection between elite Historically Black Colleges and Universities and America’s most preeminent Conservatories. Shared Voices is a year-long program that will bolster collaboration between students and administrators which will lead to a more dynamic and diverse classical vocal arts landscape across the country. Students from Howard University, Fisk University, Morgan State University, and Morehouse College will form musical alliances with The Metropolitan Opera, faculty and students from The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. 

“Shared Voices is a dream come true. I am so excited to welcome our first cohort of students and have great expectations for how their careers grow and blossom as a result of this program,” said Graves. The inaugural cohort will kick off their participation, September 30, 2022, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC.  

Howard University has an over 100-year commitment to providing a scholarly environment and musical experience of exceptional quality in performance, research, pedagogy, technology, therapy, and composition. “When Denyce called with this idea, I was overjoyed to support Shared Voices and thought that our campus was the perfect place to start. I am eager to see how student’s lives will be transformed, and I look forward to seeing them grace the world’s stages with their gifts and talents,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President, Howard University. 

Shared Voices was made possible because of a very generous gift from the Ford Foundation, “A well-rounded and diverse education is the foundation we build upon to achieve our goals, and it's crucial that all young people continue to have opportunities and access to build networks, exchange ideas, and expand their horizons," said Ford Foundation President Darren Walker. "We are thrilled to partner with the legendary Denyce Graves, one of the greatest opera voices of a generation, to pave broader pathways for young artists of all backgrounds." 

Access to the Metropolitan Opera is a key component of Shared Voices. “The Metropolitan Opera is proud to support this new initiative of the Denyce Graves Foundation and to play an active role in providing greater educational opportunities for students at HBCUs and Conservatories” said Peter Gelb, General Manager, Metropolitan Opera. The Metropolitan Opera will be providing coaches from its music staff to support a series of masterclasses on the campuses of the colleges, together with providing masterclasses at the Met in the spring of 2023. The Metropolitan Opera will also deliver a new on-line learning series, Behind the Curtain, where Met administrators from a variety of disciplines will teach the students about the broad range of career opportunities within arts administration. 

About The Denyce Graves Foundation

The Denyce Graves Foundation (DGF) promotes equity and inclusion in American classical vocal arts through an unprecedented approach: championing the hidden musical figures of the past, while uplifting young artists of world-class talent from all backgrounds. DGF sets the precedent for true representation on concert and opera house stages while also equalizing significant omissions in our national history, advancing a more honest account of classical music history as it applies to underrepresented musicians in places across America. 

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.

Media Contact: Misha Cornelius; misha.cornelius@howard.edu