Sarah Reese

“A young soprano who has it all – a luscious voice with dramatic bite and astonishing coloratura agility, disarmingly natural musical instincts and a compelling stage presence.” - The New York Times

Sarah Reese grew up in rural Pelzer, South Carolina, where she first started singing. When she went to Furman University in the late 1960’s she was one of its first black students. Reese overcame the racism and aggression inflicted by her white peers and teachers, and became a renowned and respected soprano.

After winning on the “Ted Mack Amateur Hour,” her career as an opera singer was established. Reese made her New York debut in 1981, and since that moment she has been showered with awards and recognition, being described by one music critic as having the potential “to be the supreme soprano of our day,” continuing on to say that “There hasn’t been a sound like this in 30 years.”

Her achievements include being the featured soloist on the 1993 Grammy Award-winning recording, “Prayers of Kierkegaard'' with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, her Carnegie Hall debut with The American Composers Orchestra in 1995, various iconic roles including the Priestess in Aida, Idomeneo, and Musetta in La Boheme. She has also performed with world-renowned orchestras and conductors, including Andrew Davis, Leslie Dunner, David Zinman, Paul Dunke, Christian Badea, and Maestro Herbert von Karajan.

In addition to her other accomplishments, Reese has also performed various roles in Switzerland, England, France, Monte Carlo, Italy and Russia, while also travelling as the soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to Toulouse, Strasbourg, Dusseldorf and Cologne. Her recent accomplishments include performing with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London in “Tippett’s A Child of Our Time.'' She also performed with the American Composers Orchestra at New York’s Carnegie Hall in the American premiere of “The Leaden Echo, The Golden Echo.”

Reese eventually returned to South Carolina, where she began teaching at Pendleton High School. She also chaired the school’s fine arts department. Her awards weren’t over however, and In 2013, she was named a Yale Distinguished Music Educator, and in 2014, Furman conferred upon her a Doctor of Humanities.

“I never could have made it in the opera world without the lessons that my mother and grandmother taught me.” Reese said. “They taught me to have strong values, such as honesty and integrity. Sometimes, especially when I am away from home, I hear them say ‘You do what’s right and God will make a way for you .’ I am rooted in faith and in those values.”