My Life in Music a discussion with Jessye Norman and Anna Deavere Smith at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival.
In this, its third year, Aspen Ideas Festival once again gathers scientists, artists, politicians, historians, educators, activists, and other great thinkers around some of the most important and fascinating ideas of our time. As these thinkers present their provocative ideas, they engage a sophisticated and highly motivated audience.
Jessye Norman is one of the most celebrated contemporary opera singers and recitalists in the world and a 2007 Aspen Institute Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence. A distinguished American soprano, she pursued formal musical studies at Howard University, the Peabody Conservatory, and the University of Michigan. In 2009 she curated Honor!, a celebration of the African American cultural legacy.
She made her operatic debut in Berlin and soon conquered stages from Lincoln Center to Covent Garden and from Carnegie Hall to La Scala. Over the years she has won at least a dozen major singing competitions and has made many dozen more recordings. She is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Equally at home singing arias, spirituals, or lieder, this year she is performing a wide-ranging repertoire in France, Spain, Germany and the United States.
Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith is perhaps best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie. In addition to her work in television and film, Smith is said to have created a new form of theatre. Following her interviews with scores of individuals, usually on a topic of civic and political interest, she creates theater works in which she plays many characters – as many as 52 in one production – representing multiple points of view.