Sherrill Milnes

Sherrill Milnes Five time Grammy nominated and three time Grammy winner, Mr. Milnes is internationally recognized as the leading Verdi Baritone of his time. His remarkable voice, artistic integrity, commanding stage presence, and rugged handsomeness have made him a favorite for all audiences. Milnes has conquered all of the great opera capitals of the world: the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; La Scala, Milan; Berlin’s Deutsche Oper; the Paris Opera; Buenos Aires’ famed Teatro Colon; the Liceu in Barcelona; the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; the Salzburg Festival; the Hamburg Opera, and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. He has also appeared with the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the opera companies of Pittsburgh, San Diego, Miami, and Denver, among others in the United States. At the Metropolitan Opera, where he sang more than 650 performances over a 32-year span, he has been honored with 16 new productions, seven opening nights, and ten national telecasts. Mr. Milnes was also in great demand as a recitalist and in concert, appearing on the world’s major recital stages and with the great orchestras of North America and Europe. He has had the honor of performing for every United States President from Gerald Ford to George W. Bush. Mr. Milnes grew up on a dairy farm in Downers Grove, Illinois. Despite a childhood devoted to daily chores, he, in addition to taking voice lessons, studied piano, violin, viola, double bass, clarinet and tuba. When it came time for college, he could see no future in music and pursued pre-medical studies. After a year and a half, during which he had banished music from his life, he realized that it was his true calling and enrolled at Drake University, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, in the hope of becoming a teacher. Additional graduate studies with Hermanus Baer followed at Northwestern University. During these years, the young baritone supported himself by playing in local jazz bands and singing wherever he could at women’s clubs, with local opera groups, in churches and synagogues, and for television and radio commercials. A great opportunity came when the baritone won an audition with the Boris Goldovsky Opera Company, an event he has called the “luckiest possible beginning” for his career. He toured throughout the United States with the Goldovsky Opera Company – over 100,000 miles by bus – singing in over 300 performances of more than a dozen roles. It was at the New York City Opera that Mr. Milnes made his first important debut, Valentin in Gounod’s Faust. He was launched to stardom when his riveting performance as Miller in Verdi’s Luisa Miller literally stopped the show at the Met and immediately made him the dominant baritone of our time. His international career began with a triumphant Macbeth at the Vienna Staatsoper. He has received numerous honors during his distinguished career, including seven honorary doctoral degrees. He is particularly proud of being named as a Commendatore of the Italian Republic for his long commitment to Italian opera. In 1987 he received New York City’s Seal of Recognition for his rich contribution to the city’s cultural life. In September 1996, Mr. Milnes was honored by the French government with the distinguished Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2003 he became a member of the Lincoln Academy, the highest honor awarded by the state of Illinois. Mr. Milnes has worked extensively with young singers throughout his career. He has led master classes at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools in New York, at most major universities throughout the country, and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. More extensive teaching has been done at the Yale University School of Music; Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow; the Northern Royal College of Music in Manchester, England (where he is a fellow); the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv; Montreal; and Puerto Rico; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy. He has judged many international competitions including the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. In 2001, Mr. Milnes with his wife Maria Zouves, founded VOICExperience, a not for profit organization which helps young singers develop and pursue their careers with programming throughout the country. They bring the best coaches and teachers, as well as the stars, from both the operatic and theatrical world to interact with the singers. Mr. Milnes is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Savannah VOICE Festival. He is Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus from Northwestern University and teaches master classes and workshops for universities and programs internationally.