Since it was founded in 1977, the William Warfield Scholarship Fund, Inc. has provided financial aid to more than 35 students at the Eastman School of Music, and spotlighted talented recipients in an annual benefit concert. This year’s benefit concert will be held in the School’s Kilbourn Hall on Sunday, January 13, 2019, at 4 p.m. and features the 2018 scholarship recipient, Eastman School of Music student Jonathan Rhodes.
Joining Rhodes on the concert program: Thomas Warfield (Vocalist/Dancer) with guest violist Joseph Hagen and Jade Fung, piano; FuturePointe Dance (Contemporary/Cultural Dance Ensemble); The Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church Male Chorus; and Jashanti Henry (Flautist, School of the Arts/Eastman Community Music School’s Pathways Student), along with Marcus Jefferson, Alexis Peart, and Travon Walker (guest vocalists from Eastman School of Music).
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.
Paul Burgett began a long-tern involvement with the Warfield family and scholarship fund beginning in 1969 when he was in the army reserves and was very active with the scholarship fund while serving as Dean of Students at the Eastman School of Music from 1981 to 1988. Following William Warfield’s death in 2002, Burgett remained very close to the Warfield family.
Jonathan Rhodes is a third-year vocalist attending the Eastman School of Music, studying under Professor Anthony Dean Griffey. Originally from Orlando, Florida, 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. 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, Inc., (WWSF) honors the life and legacy of William Warfield and promotes opportunities for African-American students who aspire to a career in classical vocal performance. WWSF offers four programs: Eastman School of Music (ESM) Annual Scholarship, Annual January Concert featuring our ESM scholarship recipient and other performing artists, Annual April Scholarship Luncheon featuring our ESM scholarship recipient; our newest program, WWSF Classical Vocal Competition for African-American High School Students in a six-state area; and teaching the public about the life and legacy of William Warfield.
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 remained connected to this community until his death in 2002. His family still lives in the Rochester area.
For more information on the William Warfield Scholarship Fund: www.williamwarfield.org; https://www.facebook.com/williamwarfieldscholarshipfund or firstname.lastname@example.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 550 undergraduate and 350 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 25 percent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Six alumni and three faculty members have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and numerous alumni and faculty have received Grammy Awards. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 800 concerts to the Rochester community.