Soprano Dawn Upshaw Named a MacArthur Fellow
September 25, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Soprano Dawn Upshaw, a four-time Grammy-award winner and a 1982
graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University has been named today (Sept. 25), by the John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of 24 MacArthur Fellows for 2007. Upshaw,
along with the other Fellows, will receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" funding
over the next five years for support of their current activities or to take their
work in new directions.
Since its inception in 1981, the Foundation has named 756 Fellows, including this
year's honorees, who range from 18 to 82 years of age.
"The MacArthur Foundation supports highly creative individuals and institutions with
the ability and the promise to make a difference in shaping and improving our future,"
said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. "These new MacArthur Fellows, extraordinary
men and women of all ages and in many fields, honor and inspire us with their talent,
their courage, and their deep commitment. With the gift of time and unfettered opportunity
to create and explore, we are confident that the Fellows will follow their hearts
and their minds wherever they lead, making new discoveries and making a difference
in the world."
The Fellows, selected for their creativity, originality and potential to make important
contributions in the future, include a forensic anthropologist, spider silk biologist,
short story writer, inventor, biomedical scientist, nanotechnologist, public health
physician, choreographer, as well as Upshaw.
Upshaw, who appeared in concert with the Illinois Wesleyan University Civic Orchestra
in October of 2006, is a world-renowned opera singer, who is known "to stretch the
boundaries of operatic and concert singing and enriching the landscape of contemporary
music," according to the MacArthur Foundation. The recipient of several Grammy, Gramophone,
and Edison Prize recordings, she came to international attention in 1993 with her
recording of "Symphony No. 3" by Henryk Gorecki. Upshaw has drawn acclaim for the
range of her vocal technique and her diverse repertoire, which extends from the canonical
works of Bach and Mozart to the modern works of Stravinsky and Poulenc; from new music
by contemporary talents such as John Harbison and Kaija Saariaho to popular American
She is known to have an eclectic style of performance and teaching that passionately
embraces contemporary music and sets an example to other aspiring singers.
Upshaw received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from IWU, and studied voice with
her late father-in-law David Nott, an Illinois Wesleyan professor emeritus of voice
and former director of choral activity. She also studied under Ellen Faull at the
Manhattan School of Music, earning a master's degree in 1984. She also attended courses
given by Jan DeGaetani at the Aspen (Colo.) Music School. Upshaw won the Young Concert
Artists auditions in 1984 and the Walter M. Naumburg Competition in 1985, and was
a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program. She is a member
of the vocal studies faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center and was named the Charles
Franklin Kellogg and Grace E. Ramsey Kellogg Professor of the Arts at Bard College
Born in Tennessee and raised in Park Forest, Ill., Upshaw lives near New York City.
Contact: Sherry Wallace, (309) 556-3181