Renée Fleming, an arts leader and advocate and one of the most acclaimed singers of our time, will address the graduates and receive the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America during the Peabody Conservatory’s 2021 Graduation ceremony, which will be held online on Wednesday, May 26.
Applauded the world over in concert halls, opera houses, recordings, films, and television, Renée Fleming has been hailed as having “possibly the most beautiful soprano voice in the world.” Recent triumphs have included a Tony-nominated appearance on Broadway in Carousel, the opening performances at The Shed, and the London premiere of the musical The Light in the Piazza. On Inauguration Day this year, she sang at the private church service attended by then President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, along with congressional leaders of both parties, prior to the ceremony. As a musical statesman, Fleming has been sought after on numerous distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to performances in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. Awarded America’s highest honor for an individual artist, the National Medal of Arts, as well as four Grammy awards, in 2014 she was the first classical artist ever to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl. As Artistic Advisor for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Fleming has spearheaded the Sound Health initiative, championing the work being done nationally at the intersection of health and the arts.
“Renée Fleming’s rich and eclectic artistry is unparalleled as is her remarkable career as a singer, advocate, and leader, truly setting the bar for 21st-Century citizen artistry,” noted Peabody Dean Fred Bronstein. “She is an inspiring presence, and we couldn’t be more delighted that she will lend her grace and wisdom to Peabody’s graduating class this year.”
In honor of her place as a superstar in the firmament of the performing arts, Fleming will also be awarded this year’s George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America. The highest honor bestowed by the Peabody Institute, the George Peabody Medal has been presented since 1980. Previous Peabody Medal winners have included Leon Fleisher, Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Tori Amos, Libby Larsen, Isaac Stern, André Watts, Oscar Peterson, and Alex Ross.
This year marks the Peabody Conservatory’s 139th Graduation exercises, and – due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic – the second to be held virtually. 58 Bachelor of Music degrees, 95 Master of Music degrees, six Master of Arts degrees, 16 Graduate Performance Diplomas, one Artist Diploma, and seven Doctor of Musical Arts degrees are scheduled to be conferred. Instructions to join the virtual Graduation ceremony, which begins at 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 26, will be posted soon to http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/graduation.