Helen Boatwright (November 17, 1916 – December 1, 2010), opera singer, teacher.

Helen Boatwright was a distinguished American soprano and voice teacher. At the start of her career, she sang with two young rising stars: tenor Mario Lanza and conductor, Leonard Bernstein. She also sang under the direction of Paul Hindemith, Aaron Copland, Leopold Stokowski, and many others. Although her broad repertoire included Renaissance and Baroque music, she was noted for her performances of newer music, especially by American composers. She was one of the first to record the songs of Charles Ives, (with his leading disciple, John Kirkpatrick), and remains the definitive interpreter of his vocal works. She continued, not only to perform into her nineties, but to premiere new works for her 90th Birthday celebration recital and again for her 92nd birthday.

Helen Boatwright earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in music from Oberlin University and was later awarded an honorary doctorate from Syracuse. in 1943, she married composer and conductor Howard Boatwright, who had been a violin student of Paul Hindemith. Together they founded a Hindemith summer institute in Switzerland. In 1963, she sang at the White House for President Kennedy. In addition to her performing career, she also taught at the Eastman School of Music, the Peabody Conservatory, and at Syracuse University, where her husband was the Dean of the Music School. Her health declined rapidly after a fall at her home last month. She died with one of her children at her side, listening to one of the final arias of Handel’s Messiah.

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