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Sylvia McNair


Two-time Grammy Award-winning singer Sylvia McNair is equally at home on the stages of Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and in the intimate environs of the Rainbow Room and the Algonquin?s legendary Oak Room. Her performing repertoire has embraced classical and cabaret, opera and Broadway musicals. The Wall Street Journal named Sylvia as one of only two of today?s first-rank, American classical artists who has ?proved adept at jazz vocals.? Ms. McNair has made over 70 recordings ranging from Mozart arias with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields to CDs with Andre Previn of music by Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen (Sure Thing and Come Rain or Come Shine). When asked to name a few highlights of her 20-year career, she responds: "Singing a performance of the Bach B-minor Mass with the Vienna Philharmonic for Pope John Paul II at The Vatican and singing for Hillary Clinton!" In May 1999, she presented a recital at The U.S. Supreme Court by special invitation from Justice Sandra Day O?Connor. McNair has been a regular guest soloist with the major American and European orchestras and opera houses working with an array of today?s most prominent conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin and Robert Shaw, the musician she credits with giving her the early and important opportunities that started her career. A native of Mansfield, Ohio, McNair earned a Masters degree with Distinction from the Indiana University School of Music. She has received honorary doctorates from Westminster College (1997) and Indiana University (1998). In 1999, she received the Governor?s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Arts and Entertainment from Ohio Governor Bob Taft. Recent appearances include Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, Ravinia Music Festival where The Chicago Tribune hailed her performance as ?a stylistic breakthrough,? the Milwaukee Symphony, the Carlyle Hotel in New York, and the famed Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel that drew these raves from critic Rex Reed: "What a glowing surprise to find Ms. McNair not only in such splendid voice, but thrillingly adept at exploring the subtexts of songs in a dozen variable moods ? For a classical singer making a segue into the art of the popular song, her phrasing is exemplary. Her modulations are inspired. Her time is enviable. She knows how to rev up the power when it?s needed and then soft-pedal for subtlety. She has a sense of humor ? In fact, she is so down-to-earth that you would never mistake her for a snob ... I could get used to this kind of ecstasy."