The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts press office informed the DC Performing Arts Examiner today that mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges is the recipient of the center’s 2012 Marian Anderson Award. Bridges will receive $15,000 and be presented in recital on Monday, September 10, 2012 in The Terrace Theater at 6 p.m. This award is bestowed upon an accomplished artist in mid-career. Bridges shared with the DC Performing Arts Examiner her gratitude for the award.
“For me this honor is extremely encouraging and is confirmation that hard work really does pays off. Receiving the Marian Anderson Award is particularly sentimental because Mrs. Anderson opened doors that would have been previously closed to me. I am overwhelmed with joy and am motivated and will continue to make beautiful music.” Bridges said.
Past awardees include Sylvia McNair (1990), Denyce Graves (1991), Philip Zawisza (1992), Nancy Maultsby (1993), Patricia Racette (1994), Michelle deYoung (1995), Nathan Gunn (1996), Marguerite Krull (1997), Eric Owens (2003), Lawrence Brownlee (2006), Indira Mahajan (2008), and Sasha Cooke (2010).
J’nai Bridges is a rising star in the operatic firmament. She has had several notable appearances with major companies such as Caroline Kirchstetten in the Curtis Opera Theatre/OperaCompany of Philadelphia production of Elegy for Young Lovers, and an upcoming performance in Manon Lescaut for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, among others.
Bridges attended the Manhattan School of Music where she earned the Bachelor of Music and was the recipient of the Richard F. Gold Grant. In addition, she spent two seasons in the ensembles at Glimmerglass Opera and Opera North. The winner of numerous competitions, she was also the 2011 winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, the 2009 Harlem Opera Theater Award, and the 2008 Leontyne Price Foundation Competition.
Members of the selection committee included Sarah Billinghurst, JoAnn Falletta, Patricia Racette, Marietta Simpson, and Frederica von Stade.