Eva Jessye


Biography of Eva Jessye

Eva Jessye (January 20, 1895 — February 21, 1992) was an African American who was the first black woman to receive international distinction as a professional choral conductor. She is notable as a choral conductor during the Harlem Renaissance, who created her own choral group featured widely in performance. Her professional influence extended for decades through her teaching as well. Her accomplishments in this field were historic for any woman. She collaborated in productions of groundbreaking works, directing her choir and working with Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein on Four Saints in Three Acts (1933), and serving as musical director with George Gershwin on his innovative opera Porgy and Bess (1935).

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