George Shirley

Opera Singer and Educator
Mr. Shirley recuves hiis medal from President Obama.

Photo by Ralph Alswang


George Shirley received the award for his contributions as a tenor. The first African American tenor to sing in a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Shirley has captivated audiences for more than 50 years with his masterful performances. As a pioneer and as a teacher, Mr. Shirley has paved the way for generations of aspiring African American opera singers.