Kathleen Battle was born on August 13, 1948 in Portsmouth, Ohio, USA. She was the youngest of seven children in the African-American family, with a good tradition of singing spirituals. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in Ohio (1971) and taught music to Cincinnati’s inner-city youth, while continuing her vocal studies privately. In 1972 she was hired by then conductor or the Cincinnati Symphony, Thomas Schippers, to perform at the 1972 Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.
Being blessed with the silky, silvery timbre of her lyric coloratura soprano, and the talent that has little limitations, she made performances and recordings in a variety of styles and genres, including classical sacred music, spirituals and traditional jazz. Battle performed leading parts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in the operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Strauss, and Gaetano Donizetti. She also worked with conductor James Levine, as well as with jazz musicians such as Cyrus Chestnut, James Carter, Grover Washington Jr., and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Her performances with tenors Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and conductors Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Georg Solti, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti are documented on video and sound recordings.
Battle is arguably the only lyric soprano with the ability to bridge the gap between the European bel canto opera and the African-American tradition of vocal improvisation. Her recordings of classical sacred arias by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joaquino Rossini, and ‘Gabriel Faure’, as well as her recordings of spirituals, lullabies and folksongs in a jazz setting, are among the finest examples of her cross-cultural works.
She was a five-time Grammy award winner, and won an Emmy Award in 1991. She received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a New Opera Production for her debut performance at the Covent Garden Royal Opera House, London. Battle is the recipient of several honorary doctorates from universities. She was indicted in the NAACP Image Hall Of Fame in 1999. – IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov