“…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” (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, Michigan Opera Theatre/DSO/Rackham Choir, Royal Philharmonic (London), Prague Philharmonic, Umbria Music Festival (Italy), TodiMusicFest (US), Miss World 2012, 2014, 2016, 2021, 2023 (China, UK, US, Puerto Rico);  Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, Miss World Beauty With A Purpose and Rise Against Hunger events, Gala (South Africa 2017);  Humanity Rising: Notre-Dame Reborn virtual Gala; Sentinel of the Sea Award Virtual Celebration honoring Gary Sinise; Holders Season Gala (Barbados), Lancaster Festival, Corrales Cultural Arts Council (New Mexico), Kennedy Center, Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park Gala, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Auditorium Theatre, Auditorium Theatre 125 Living the History, Orpheum Theatre (Memphis), Chicago Opera Theater, Chorus Angelorum, Chicagoland Pops Orchestra, Siamsa na nGael and NATO Chicago Summit, among others.  Ms. Burke filmed Prague PBS special, Hallelujah Broadway (Mind the Gap Films, Dublin) and recorded it on EMI/Manhattan Records label (Czech National Symphony Orchestra Studios, Prague).  Ms. Burke and Rodrick Dixon were featured in PBS Great Performances Now Hear This “Florence Price and the American Migration” (2022).  Alfreda Burke and Rodrick Dixon sang in the historical Mayoral Inauguration of The Honorable Lori E. Lightfoot (Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, 2019).  She is honored to be a HistoryMaker and a permanent part of their collection at the Library of Congress.


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; Schubert’s Mass in G; 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; Lokumbe’s Crucifixion Resurrection; Bernstein’s West Side Story; Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary Magdalene); Christianson & Anderson’s Too Hot to Handel; Kern’s Show Boat (Kennedy Center/National Tour, Auditorium Theatre with her son, Dean), directed by Harold ‘Hal’ Prince.  A cycle of Paul Laurence Dunbar songs was written for Ms. Burke by Dr. Edward Hart, College of Charleston (2015); and spiritual settings arranged for her by Belford Hernandez (2017).  She was featured in Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Center Inaugural Festival and Radiothon.  She sang for Francis Cardinal George, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich and the Office for Immigrant Affairs’ Keep Hope Alive Benefit.


Ms. Burke’s work in recordings, music video, television, radio, film and commercials includes:  soprano vocalist in Dawa movies (LA) soundtrack featuring Ramsey Lewis, Maestro James Mack and members of the CSO; Bobby Lewis release; Celine Dion and R. Kelly’s I’m Your Angel video; numerous classical/crossover, sacred/secular profiles and broadcasts; films include 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 and Following in the Footsteps concert 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; Hallelujah Broadway (EMI/Manhattan Records).  She recorded, performed the Chicago Olympic 2016 Bid Anthem, I Will Stand (Millennium Park Gala) and served on the Arts & Culture Advisory Council. Burke’s Negro Mother performance with the Michael Teolis Singers is archived in the Margaret Herrick Library (the main repository of print, graphic, research materials of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).  Recent and upcoming engagements  include productions of Too Hot to Handel at the Michigan Opera Theatre/DSO/Rackham Choir (18 yrs.) and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre (15 yrs.), where production is livestreamed to prisons across the country, thanks to Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church and Auditorium Theatre; Orpheum Theatre (Memphis); Variety Children’s Charity Telethon; Tuba Bach Festival; Hannibal Lokumbe’s  Crucifixion Resurrection; the Royal Philharmonic (London); Auditorium Theatre & DiBurke, Inc. co-produced duo show, livestreamed Holiday Concert and CD release; livestreamed At Home with the Auditorium, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks virtual tour 2020, Ravinia TV; Humanity Rising: Notre-Dame Reborn virtual Gala benefitting the rebuilding and restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral; Sentinel of the Sea Award Virtual Celebration honoring Gary Sinise; PBS Great Performances Now Hear This “Florence Price and the American Migration” (2022); South Dakota Symphony Orchestra; Peoria Symphony Orchestra.  Ms. 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 (since 2010), Community Engagement Committee Chair (2018-2020); served on the Auditorium Theatre 125th Anniversary Season Committee. 


Youtube Alfreda Burke Playlist of Classical Audio Compilation:


YouTube Alfreda Burke PBS/TV Playlist Video Compilation:


Visit Soprano Alfreda Burke at  YouTube and  Facebook.  Follow Ms. Burke on Twitter @AlfredaBurke17


Ms. Burke’s Work in Education includes:  Wheaton College Conservatory, Guest Lecturer in Voice  (1997-2009); 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, CA (Summer 2009-2015); Kentucky State University Business Class (2012); Too Hot to Handel Education Outreach, Michigan Opera Theatre (2002-Present) and Auditorium Theatre (2006-Present); Wright State University Music & Medicine Symposium (2009-2013) Performer, Presenter, Clinician; The HistoryMakers Back to School (2013, 2016); Tennessee State University Camera Class (2017); NANM 2019 Centennial National Convention Chicago, Camera Class; HHW Vocal Arts Touring Ensemble Master Class (2021); North Park University School of Music, Art and Theatre Vocal Master Class Guest Clinician (2022)

Interesting Facts:  The talent, support and encouragement of Alfreda Burke’s beloved parents ignited her passion for music.  Her performances are dedicated to the life, love, legacy and cherished memory of Pastor John and Mamie Burke. 

Ms. Burke is the Goddaughter of Roberta Martin, internationally acclaimed Gospel singer, pianist, composer, arranger, choral organizer and publisher.

Ms. Burke was taught and inspired by Anne Greaney to pursue her talents in visual art, as well as music. 

Visionaries:  Parents, Alice Dutcher Thornton, Dr. Corinne Schumacher, Margaret Hillis, George & Gladys Shirley, Dr./Sr. Marion Etzel, Maestro James Mack, Jeffrey Horvath, Dr. Edna Williams, Dr. Robert Eckstrom, Anne M. Greaney, Dr. Sydonia M. Brooks