Biography

“…Soprano Alfreda Burke…singing displayed a voice flexible and brilliant in the upper register, dark yet colorful in the middle and lower registers.”

Alfreda Burke’s vocal artistry has been described as “voluptuous, creamy and luxuriant” (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune).  She has appeared in concert throughout North America and in Europe.  Ms. Burke made her Carnegie and Orchestra Hall debuts in Strauss’ Elektra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim.  Highlighted performances include the Chicago Symphony  at Ravinia under Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops Symphony Orchestra/May Festival Chorus,Detroit Opera House/DSO/Rackham Symphony Choir,Prague Philharmonic, Umbria Music Festival (Italy), TodiMusicFest, Miss World (China), Holders Season Gala (Barbados), Lancaster Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park Gala, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra 2003, Kennedy Center, Auditorium Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Chorus Angelorum, Chicagoland Pops Orchestra, Siamsa na nGael and NATO Chicago Summit, among others.  Ms. Burke filmed 2010 Prague PBS special, Hallelujah Broadway (Mind the Gap Films, Dublin, Ireland) and recorded it on EMI/Manhattan Records label (Czech National Symphony Orchestra Studios).

 

Ms. Burke’s oratorio, opera, concert and musical theater engagements include the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts broadcast on WFMT-FM; Mozart Requiem, Mass in C Minor, Coronation Mass in C Major; Handel’s Messiah; Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Beethoven’s Mass in C; Poulenc Gloria; Mahler 2nd & 8th Symphonies; Strauss’ Elektra; Puccini’s Turandot (Liu); Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Menotti’s Amahl & the Night Visitors; Rutter Requiem; Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem; Boulez’s Le Visage Nuptial under baton of Pierre Boulez; Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess; Bernstein’s West Side Story; Christianson & Anderson’s Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah; Kern’s Show Boat (Kennedy Center/National Tour, Auditorium Theatre with her son, Dean),directed by Harold Prince.  She was featured in CSO’s Symphony Center Inaugural Festival and Radiothon.

 

Ms. Burke’s work in recordings, music video, television, radio, film and commercials includes:  soprano vocalist in Dawa movies (LA) soundtrack featuring Ramsey Lewis, James Mack and members of the CSO; Bobby Lewis release; Celine Dion and R. Kelly’s I’m Your Angel; profiles and broadcasts on CBS, NBC, WGN, WFLD, WCFC, WTTW, KCET, KVCR, WCET, Odyssey, CAN-TV; features on WFMT, NPR, KUSC, WBEZ, WMBI, WGCI, WYCA and WOSU; The Visit, The Visitors, Unconditional Love, U.S. Marshals.  Ms. Burke has made guest soloist appearances on the WTTW/Odyssey broadcast of 30 Good Minutes.  She has performed the National Anthem for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Fire.

 

Alfreda Burke received rave reviews for a Community Concerts national tour with Tenor Rodrick Dixon. “Dixon and Burke sang with such deep and knowing pathos that the audience was kept in rapt silence until the end of the set.  …Then Burke keened the achingly beautiful ‘Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child’…   Ms. Burke’s discography includes solo debut CD, From the Heart (2002);Hallelujah Broadway (2010, EMI/Manhattan Records).  She recorded, performed the Chicago Olympic 2016 Bid Anthem, “I Will Stand (Millennium Park Gala, 2008) and served on the Arts & Culture Advisory Council.Upcoming 2012-2014 engagements,  airings include national/ international PBS Special Hallelujah Broadway; YMP Artist Residency (U of C, Berkeley); WSU Music & Medicine Symposium; Detroit Opera House/Rackham Symphony Choir; Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre, Too Hot to Handel; Siamsa na nGael; NATO Chicago Summit; Miss World (China) event and judge; Joffrey Ballet Benefit; Variety Children’s Telethon; Auditorium Theatre & DiBurke, Inc. co-produced new duo show, Songs of a Dream (AL, SC, KY, CT, IL, NC, etc.), national tour and TV appearances in 2014; Brazeal Dennard Chorale; Tuba Bach Festival; City Lights Orchestra/Office of Immigrant Affairs, Francis Cardinal George; Corrales Cultural Arts Council (New Mexico); Deck the Halls!, American Opera Society and moreMs. Burke received Master and Bachelor of Music degrees from Roosevelt University; served as Alumna Ambassador for RU’s 60th Anniversary; serves on the RU CCPA Advisory Board; and on the Auditorium Theatre 125th Anniversary Season Committee.  For classical inquiries, please contact John Miller, Pinnacle Arts Mgmt., Inc.

Also visit Soprano Alfreda Burke at  www.theHIstoryMakers.com, www.songsofadream.com,  http://www.facebook.com/people/Alfreda-Burke/100001464074161

 

 

 Ms. Burke’s work in Education includes:  Wheaton College Conservatory, Guest Lecturer in Voice  (1998-2009); Chicago State University, Voice Faculty  (2007-2008); Carl Sandburg HS, Individual Voice Teacher  (2004-2007); Chicago Symphony Orchestra Musicians Residency/South Shore Cultural Center, Voice Instructor (1996-1998); Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Experimental Laboratory Schools (K-8), Evanston-Skokie Dist. 65, General Music & Choral Teacher  (1985-1996).  Young Musicians  Choral Orchestra (YMCO) Artist Residency, University of California at Berkeley (Summer 2009-Present); Too Hot to Handel Student Outreach, Detroit Opera House (2002-Present) and Auditorium Theatre (2006-Present); Wright State University Music & Medicine Symposium (2009-Present) Performer, Presenter, Clinician; The HistoryMakers Back to School; Masterclasses throughout the US (presently).

 

Interesting Fact:  Alfreda Burke, a Pastor’s Kid, is the Goddaughter of Roberta Martin, internationally acclaimed Gospel singer, pianist, composer, arranger and publisher.