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Scholarship Fund to Hold “William Warfield: A Legacy in Music” Concert

By Staff


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William Warfield

The William Warfield Scholarship fund will hold its 40th Annual “William Warfield: A Legacy in Music” concert Jan. 8, in an effort to raise money for the scholarship fund, and to celebrate the legacy of Warfield, who was a prominent African-American soloist and recitalist at the Eastman School of Music.

The concert will take place in the school’s Kilbourn Hall on Sunday, at 4 p.m., and feature this year’s award recipient, 21 year-old Alicia Rosser.

The fund was created in 1977, “to promote opportunity for deserving African-American artists who are pursuing a career in vocal performance through advanced training at the Eastman School of Music, and to promote the life and work of William Warfield,” a press release stated.

Rosser is currently a senior at the school, and will appear in Eastman Opera Theatre’s production of Out of Darkness, on Feb. 3, 5, and 11, prior to presenting her senior recital on March 25, at 1:30 p.m., in Hatch Recital Hall.


Alicia Rosser

Rosser has been the recipient of the award for the past two years, consecutively.

Baritone Lawrence Craig, one of Warfield’s former students, will also perform at the event.

Additional performers will include former Warfield scholarship recipient Jason Alexander Holmes; the Garth Fagan Youth Dancers; the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Men’s Choir; the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church Youth Choir; and the Eastman Community Music School’s New Horizons Baroque Ensemble; along with special guest performers and teachers Bill and Teryle Watson.

Originally from Arkansas, Warfield moved to Rochester with his family as a young boy, and attended Rochester city schools.


Lawrence Craig

During his senior year in high school, he won the National Music Educators League Competition, and a full scholarship to the Eastman School of Music, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the school in 1942 and 1946, respectively.

Warfield is best known for his portrayals of Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and as Joe, the dock hand, in the movie Showboat.

He also won a Grammy Award for his narration of Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait, accompanied by the Eastman Philharmonic.

Warfield died in 2002, at the age of 82.

Individuals interested in attending the event may purchase tickets for $18 in advance, or for $20 at the door; $10 for students with ID.

Advance tickets are available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St.; by phone, at (585-454-2100); or online, at

Visit for additional information regarding the event.

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