Women of Color in the Academy Project honor Naomi André at annual Shirley Verrett Awards Ceremony

The University of Michigan Women of Color in the Academy Project (WOCAP) will present its 7th Annual Shirley Verrett Award to Dr. Naomi André. Dr. André is an Associate Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women’s Studies, as well as the Residential College where she serves as Associate Director for Faculty.

Dr. André was selected as the recipient of this award in recognition of her scholarship and musicological inquiry into the representation of race, voice, and gender, her deep commitment to diversity as an educational mission, and her contributions to teaching and mentoring women of color scholars in the arts.

The award ceremony will be from 5-6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Stamps Auditorium on North Campus. A reception will follow in the lobby. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested at tinyurl.com/ShirleyVerrett2018.

Dr. André’s publications include topics on Italian opera, Arnold Schoenberg, women composers, and teaching opera in prisons. Her forthcoming book, Black Opera, History, Power, Engagement (University of Illinois Press, Spring 2018) focuses on how opera has become a unique arena for expressing blackness and presenting new narratives about the intersections of race, gender, and nation, in the West (United States and Europe) as well as in South Africa. Her earlier books, Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (2006) and Blackness in Opera (2012, co-edited collection) focus on opera from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries and explore constructions of gender, race, and identity.

The Shirley Verrett Award was created in 2011 by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost in honor of the late Shirley Verrett, a teacher who “would have walked the world over for her students.” The award is administered by WOCAP at the Center for the Education of Women, and recognizes a faculty member whose teaching, performance, scholarship or service supports the success of female students or faculty in the arts who come from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds.

Verrett was a James Earl Jones Distinguished University Professor of Voice at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, as well as an internationally acclaimed opera singer who was one of the pioneering leaders in the generation of black opera singers. She performed more than 40 roles all over the world during the course of her four-decade career.