Marian Anderson

Jessica Kourkounis

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. 

Seventy-five years ago, on April 9, 1939, as Hitler's troops advanced in Europe and the Depression took its toll in the U.S., one of the most important musical events of the 20th century took place on the National Mall in Washington. There, just two performers, a singer and a pianist, made musical — and social — history.

Marian Anderson's Philadelphia Legacy

Jul 7, 2013

Motown founder and songwriter Berry Gordy is this year’s Marian Anderson Award honoree. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the Philadelphia-born opera superstar for whom the award is named, was renowned for her humility and her humanity.

Remembering A Philadelphia-Born Opera Legend

Feb 24, 2013

This week, we celebrate the birthday of Marian Anderson. The opera superstar was born in Philadelphia in 1897. WRTI’s Jim Cotter says that though her voice had an ethereal quality, the late, great contralto was renowned for her humility and her humanity.