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Andrew Frierson, Pioneering Black Opera Singer, Dies at 94 | The New York Times

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Andrew Frierson, Pioneering Black Opera Singer, Dies at 94 | The New York Times Andrew Frierson, whose bass-baritone reverberated from the stages of theaters and music halls around the world as part of the first generation of black opera singers to make their voices heard, died on Dec. 6 in Oberlin, Ohio. He was 94.

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His daughter, Andrea Frierson, confirmed the death.

Mr. Frierson (pronounced FRY-er-son) made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1948 while still a student and went on to perform for six seasons with the New York City Opera. He also sang at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the occasion of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Mr. Frierson taught at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., in the early 1950s; directed the Henry Street Settlement Music School in Manhattan in the ’60s; and was a professor of voice at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio in the ’70s.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Frierson and a colleague, James Kennon-Wilson, founded Independent Black Opera Singers, to encourage the careers of black male performers through education and competitions and by calling attention to the scarcity of blacks cast in major roles.


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