Carol Brice



Competition Winner

Born: April 16, 1918, Sedalia, North Carolina

Died: February 15, 1985, Norman, Oklahoma

Carol Brice, contralto, was the first black musician to win the Naumburg award in 1944, making her NY debut in Town Hall ini 1944 under the auspices of the Naumburg Foundation. She attended the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, NC and earned degrees in music at Talladega College in Alabama, and at the Juilliard School of Music. Ms. Brice appeared in the 1939 New York World's Fair production of "The Hot Mikado," and in 1941 she was chosen to sing at a Washington, DC concert in honor of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's third inauguration.

In 1958, she performed Addie in the City Opera's production of Marc Blitzstein's "Regina." In 1959, she made her Broadway debut as Kakou in Harold Arlen's "Saratoga" with Howard Keel and Carol Lawrence and would appear in NY on stage in "The Grass Harp" and City Center productions of "Porgy and Bess," "Finian's Rainbow," "Regina."  In 1963, Brice was in City Opera's world premiere of Jerome Moross's "Gentlemen Be Seated." From 1967 to 1971, she sang regularly in Vienna as a member of the Volksoper.

Her last NY appearance was in 1975 at Carnegie Hall as part of the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation's 50th Anniversary Concert.

She was the featured contralto on the February 5, 1946 recording of Manuel de Falla's "El Amor Brujo," conducted by Fritz Reiner with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. (Columbia Masterworks).

In 1945 she taught briefly at Black Mountain College. Brice began teaching at the University of Oklahoma at Norman in 1974. She later founded the non-profit Cimarron Circuit Opera Company in Oklahoma with her husband, the baritone Thomas Carey.

Carol Brice, throughout the years, was frequently compared with Marian Anderson.


1944 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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