Creatively Speaking
12:25 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

How a Mentor Inspired A Life In Music: Blanche Burton-Lyles Keeps Marian Anderson’s Memory Alive

A classical pianist considered Marian Anderson’s protégé was the beneficiary of the opera star’s generous encouragement and wisdom.  As a child, Blanche Burton-Lyles lived in South Philadelphia near the home that Marian Anderson called her "dream home."  Anderson knew Blanche’s parents, and would invite the young prodigy to her home to play the living-room piano. It was a life-long relationship. And even in her later years, Burton-Lyles and Anderson kept up through letters after Anderson moved to the West Coast. 

After finding success as a concert pianist and teacher, Burton-Lyles discovered that the house where she’d entertained Anderson and her guests was for sale. She bought it in 1998 and founded the Marian Anderson Historical Society to continue Anderson’s memory and her good works.