Warfield Scholarship 41st Anniversary Concert Features Tenor Jonathan Rhodes, Eastman School of Music scholarship winner

December 26, 2017

More Information:
For Media Only: Jessica A. Kaufman (585-274-1057, jkaufman@esm.rochester.edu)

Since it was founded in 1977, the William Warfield Scholarship Fund has provided financial aid to more than 35 students at the Eastman School of Music, and spotlighted talented recipients in an annual benefit concert. The 41st anniversary benefit concert will be held in the School’s Kilbourn Hall on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, at 4 p.m. and features scholarship recipient Jonathan Rhodes. Tickets to the concert are $18 in advance only at https://www.facebook.com/williamwarfieldscholarshipfund/ and will be held at Will Call at Kilbourn. For tickets the day of the concert, the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St., will be open after 3PM. Tickets are $20 at the door; $10 for students with ID.

Joining Rhodes on the concert program: the Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church Male Chorus; ROCmusic Collaboration; and Taliz Ocasio from the Rochester City School District’s School of the Arts. Concert emcee is Eric Townell, Artistic Director of the Rochester Oratorio Society.

Over four decades, recipients of the William Warfield Scholarship have included such notable singers as soprano Julia Bullock, winner of the 2014 W. Naumburg Foundation’s International Vocal Competition; soprano Nicole Cabell, winner of the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition; and bass-baritone Jamal Moore, who was featured with the University of Rochester a cappella ensemble The Yellowjackets on the NBC competition The Sing-Off in 2011 and is performing internationally with the a cappella group The Exchange.

Rhodes is a second-year vocalist attending the Eastman School of Music, studying under Professor Anthony Dean Griffey. Originally from Orlando, FL, Jonathan made his performance debut with the Minnesota Opera’s youth program, in one of the principal roles (Kurz) in Memory Boy. Jonathan’s ensemble work has included performances with the Eastman Chorale, the Bach Festival Society, and a temporary choir member position in Hans Zimmer’s 2017 live tour. Jonathan is also the recipient of the Freshman Vocal Jury award from the Eastman Voice and Opera Department. This year, Jonathan played the role of Liberto in The Eastman Opera Theatre’s production of Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. Outside of music, Jonathan is pursuing a second degree in Political Science through the University of Rochester.

Scholarship recipients are nominated by Eastman faculty based on criteria of demonstrated ability and financial need. Warfield laureates have gone on to achieve high distinction as performers and educators, and many sustain their deep connection to Rochester through performances with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rochester Oratorio Society, and other professional ensembles.

The William Warfield Scholarship Fund exists to promote opportunity for deserving African-American artists who are pursuing a career in vocal performance through advanced training at the Eastman School of Music; and, to promote the life and legacy of William Warfield. The William Warfield Scholarship Fund Concert is a major fundraiser for the organization; proceeds from the concert help carry out the purpose of the William Warfield Scholarship Fund.

William Warfield was known worldwide for his work as a soloist, recitalist, actor, and narrator. Born in Arkansas, he moved to Rochester with his family as a young boy and attended Rochester city schools. During his senior year, he won the National Music Educators League Competition and a full scholarship to any American music school of his choice. Warfield chose the Eastman School of Music, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1942 and 1946, respectively. He is best known for his portrayals of Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and of Joe, the dock hand, in the movie Show Boat. In 1984, Warfield won a Grammy Award for his narration of Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait accompanied by the Eastman Philharmonia. He died in 2002 at the age of 82.

More information on the William Warfield Scholarship Fund may be found at https://www.facebook.com/williamwarfieldscholarshipfund/, or info@williamwarfield.org.

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About Eastman School of Music:

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division– about 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 20 percent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Seven Pulitzer Prize winners have taught at Eastman, as have several Grammy Award winners. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 700 concerts to the Rochester community.