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The Elizabeth Greenfield Award

  • August 13, 2022 12:04 AM
    Message # 12882372
    Lister Administrator (Administrator)


    The deadline to apply is September 6, 2022. To submit your application, visit Yaptracker.

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    JTVA recognizes that Black singers have historically faced inordinate barriers to establishing classically based singing careers. These barriers have deprived the world of great voices for generations. The Elizabeth Greenfield Award was conceived to honor a trailblazing Black singer and recognize outstanding present-day Black singers by providing meaningful financial assistance to further their careers. 

    2022 AWARDS

    The 2022 grant is a $5,000 cash prize. The application deadline is September 6, 2022. All applicants will be notified of their status by October 5, 2022, and seven finalists announced on October 6. The Award recipient will be announced in a digital event on Sunday, November 6, 2022.



    JTVA encourages applicants of any age who identify as Black to apply. While the Elizabeth Greenfield Award is open to managed and unmanaged singers, applicants will be in the early stages of a professional operatic and/or concert career. Though there are no repertoire requirements, applicants are encouraged to highlight performances of music by Black composers.

    Materials Required

    1. The completed application
    2. An up-to-date resume
    3. A headshot
    4. One recent video of your singing (an optional second video may be submitted, but is not required)
    5. A 300-word essay answering the question "Why does the music world need your voice, and how will this grant help you share it?"
    6. A non-refundable $5 application fee 

    Age Limit

    No limit.


    Applications must be received by Tuesday, September 6, 2022.


    Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (1809 - 1876) was born into slavery in 1809 in Natchez, Mississippi, and later became known as "The Black Swan" and the first African American singer to gain recognition in Europe and the United States. As a child, Greenfield was taken to Philadelphia, raised by an abolitionist, and emancipated in the early 1820s. A self-taught soprano, she began her career in New York. In the 1850s, she awed audiences with her first national concert tour and, in 1853, received one of the highest honors possible for any musician—a command performance for Queen Victoria. Greenfield became the first African American performer to win acclaim from Britain’s audiences. At the end of her touring career, Greenfield returned to Philadelphia, began teaching students, ran a touring opera company for Black singers, and was involved in numerous philanthropic activities, among them orphanages and music groups to involve African Americans in the performance of operatic literature. Greenfield opened the way for future Black singers, from Sissieretta Jones to Audra McDonald. In 1921, the first successful black-owned record company was named Black Swan Records in her honor.

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