Born: January 5, 1929, Dallas, Texas
Died: May 9, 2008, Philadelphia, PA
Wayne Connor, tenor, was also a renowned pedagogue. He taught at The Curtis Institute of Music, The Academy of Vocal Arts and the Peabody Institute. He was also an esteemed classical music radio personality. For 30 years he was the producer and host for two NPR programs, "Singer's World" and "Collector's Corner."
Jesse Wayne Connor was born in Dallas and received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Southern Methodist University and was working for a law degree when friends suggested he should consider being a singer. He earned a bachelor of music degree at Curtis and a master of music degree at Peabody. In 1956, he was named a winner of the Walter W. Naumburg competition. Following his New York debut in Town Hall he sang with the Zagreb Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. He also performed with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Baltimore Bach Society, and the Bethlehem Bach Festival, the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company, and for years was the tenor soloist at Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, and the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. He recorded Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes for Columbia Records with Benita Valente, Marlena Kleinman, Martial Singher, Leon Fleisher and Rudolf Serkin.
In 1963, Wayne Connor joined the Peabody faculty, teaching there for 45 years, serving as the chair of the voice department for 11 years. He was known for his expansive knowledge of French and German art songs. He often lectured for the Baltimore Opera. He also gave numerous recitals at the Phillips Gallery in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.
Excerpt from The New York Times, November 14, 1956
Wayne Connor, Tenor, Makes Debut
"Every phrase shows taste and intelligence. The works on his program were delivered with admirable taste stylistic polish... In songs of Schubert and Hugo Wolf Mr. Connor gave an especially good account of himself. Wolf's "Verschwiegene Liebe" displayed the tenor's fine control of mezza-voce. The German group as a whol revealed sound musicianship and thorough comprehension of texts and music." J.B.
1956 Naumburg Competition