George Shirley, famed soprano Latonia Moore, and NYC School Principal Rosemary Vega join ArtSmart Board

In 2015, President Obama named Dr. Shirley as a recipient of the National Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for artists and arts patrons.

Dr. George Shirley (Board Chair)

Dr. George Shirley is a grammy-award winning American tenor and music educator whose trailblazing career has paved the way for generations of African-American opera singers. Dr. Shirley was the first African-American to be appointed to a high school teaching post in music in Detroit, the first African-American member of the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., the first African-American singer to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (1961), and the first African-American tenor to sing leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera. One of his greatest honors came in 2015 when he was bestowed with the National Medal of the Arts by former US President Barack Obama. He is also the recipient of the National Opera Association’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2019 William Warfield Legacy Award for his dedication to the advancement of African American classical vocalists. Dr. Shirley previously served on the faculty of the University of Maryland and is a Distinguished Professor of Music at University of Michigan.
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Latonia Moore

One of the greatest international sopranos today, Latonia Moore has sung at many of the world’s most important opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Staatsoper Berlin and the Arena di Verona. She has pioneered performances of new operas highlighting untold African American stories and is outspoken on racial inequality and inclusivity in the arts. Next season she will open the Metropolitan Opera as Sister Rose in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and reprise her role there as Billie in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, the first opera by a black composer to ever be performed at the Metropolitan Opera. In the 2021/22 season, she sang Emelda Griffiths in the New York premiere of Blanchard’s Champion at the Metropolitan Opera. Honors and awards include the Maria Callas Award from Dallas Opera, a Richard Tucker Foundation grant, first prize in the Marseilles Competition, and first prize in the International Competition dell’Opera in Dresden. Latonia is a native of Houston, Texas.


Rosemary Vega Moore

Rosemary Vega is an accomplished professional with a diverse background in education and the arts. She currently serves as the Principal of East Williamsburg Scholars Academy, where ArtSmart has been providing music mentorship programs for five years. In addition to her years of experience as a teacher and assistant principal with the NYC Department of Education, she has served as Dance School Director and Executive Director of Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre and as Recreation Director for afterschool programs at YMCA. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor and Program Coordinator of Kingsborough Community College’s College Now program, a FREE college transition/dual enrollment program for New York City Department of Education high school students. Rosemary holds an AS in Science and a BS in Business from the College of Staten Island, an MBA from Long Island University and an SBA from the College of St. Rose.


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By ArtSmart Newswire   |  Published on 11/01/2021