(last updated: August 15, 2006)
Chairwoman of the Metropolitan Opera
Former Chairwoman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
National Chair of the March of Dimes’ Mothers’ March on Birth Defects
he leading spokesperson for the arts in America today, Beverly Sills is Chairwoman of the Metropolitan Opera. After serving an enormously effective tenure for eight years, Ms. Sills stepped down in May 2002 as Chairwoman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She came to that post after one of the most dazzling careers in operatic history. She is a Presidential appointee to the President’s Task Force on the Arts, a panelist of the National Endowment for the Arts, and a distinguished guest at almost every White House ceremony connected with the arts.
A great artist and a great woman, the warmth, intelligence and humor she brings to the lectern has earned for her the distinction of being one of the world’s favorite speakers. She traces her course from Brooklyn, New York, to her present worldwide prominence, with delightful personal anecdotes. She relates her disappointments as well as her successes, and shares the secrets of her inner strength, which enabled her to cope with some of life’s harshest blows.
A member of the Board of the Metropolitan Opera, she has become renowned for her efforts to get young American artists accepted as a source of national pride. “Art,” she says, “is the signature of civilization.” And she should know! Her operatic repertory of more than 70 roles brought her international super-stardom. One of the greatest coloratura sopranos of the twentieth century, she sang with the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, La Scala and with the major companies of almost every city on the globe where opera is cherished. In 1981, Ms. Sills gave a series of master classes for young people in the People’s Republic of China — a program sponsored by Columbia University.
Beverly Sills has won a Grammy Award and Europe’s Edison Award. Her triumphs have extended to television, and she has won two Emmys for BBC “Profiles in Music — Beverly Sills,” and the NBC series “Lifestyles With Beverly Sills.” She is a frequent guest on every top-rated talk show, and won national acclaim for her presentation of In Performance At The White House, Gala of Stars, and Skylines with Beverly Sills, all on PBS.
Miss Sills is a diligent and vocal advocate for insuring that the arts are available to everyone, and she commands this post with the strategy of a CEO and the talent of her art. She is an impassioned advocate for other causes as well, and encourages philanthropy around the world. Her honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the New York City Handel Medallion, and Kennedy Center Honors. She serves on the boards of the American Express Company, Metropolitan Opera Association, Lincoln Center Theater, Eden Institute for Autistic People in Princeton, NJ, and the Hospital for Special Surgery, and is Chairman of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She is the retired National Chairman of the March of Dimes Foundation, for which she helped raise upward of $80,000,000. She holds honorary degrees from 14 leading academic institutions.
In her speeches, Miss Sills draws upon the warmth and wit that enabled her to reach the pinnacle of success in the opera world while parenting children with special needs. She speaks openly about her place in the spotlight as one of opera’s legendary stars and the importance of art and love in all of our lives. Miss Sills infuses her speech with personal stories and humorous vignettes which reveal the intelligence and unique talent of this working mother. A great artist and a great woman, the warmth, intelligence and humor Beverly Sills brings to her audiences has earned her the distinction of being one of the world’s favorite speakers.
Miss Sills resides in New York.
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