Hunter Congratulates Opera Singer Martina Arroyo ’56, Recipient of the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors
On December 8, at its annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts honored world-acclaimed opera singer Martina Arroyo.
Arroyo grew up in Harlem and is a proud graduate of both Hunter College and Hunter College High School. She was only 19 when she graduated from the College, and she made her Carnegie Hall debut just two years later.
In 2006, Arroyo told Opera News about the defining role Hunter played in her life:
"I was lucky, because I went to the Hunter College Opera Workshop in the '50s," she recalled, noting that it all began when she was in high school and Professor Josef Turnau caught her and her friends outside the auditorium, imitating the opera singers inside.
"Professor Turnau made me sing as a punishment," she said. But then he realized she had talent, and advised her to take the workshop. "I went for fun but became so involved that I ended up going to Hunter. Music took over my life entirely."
Today Arroyo maintains a strong working connection to her alma mater through the Martina Arroyo Foundation's Prelude to Performance program, which trains talented young opera singers and presents them in fully staged performances at the Kaye Playhouse. She is also a trustee emerita of the Hunter College Foundation.
In its announcement of the 2013 Honors recipients, the Kennedy Center cited Arroyo's extraordinary achievements as an educator as well as an artist: "Martina Arroyo has dazzled the world with her glorious soprano voice and continues to share her artistry with a new generation of opera singers."
Click this link to read Arroyo's full bio on the Kennedy Center's website.
To see a video of the award ceremony visit the Martina Arroyo Foundation website.