top of page


AUGUST 31, 1914 - 2001

Baritone Fred Thomas became the first African American to win the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air competition when he tied for second place in 1951 and he made both his Town Hall and Carnegie Hall debuts that same year. Thomas earned a degree from Cheyney University, the nation’s first HBCU, before earning a scholarship to Mannes College. Despite his military service, Thomas was able to sing concerts in Europe wherever he was stationed. Upon his return to the states, Thomas appeared in musicals on Broadway and in regional houses; he performed with the New York City Opera, Harlem Opera Society, and was featured on television and radio. Thomas toured throughout the U.S. and Europe as a soloist with the Los Angeles Jubilee Singers. He celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Town Hall debut with a recital at Alice Tully Hall. In 1998, the National Opera Association awarded Thomas its legacy award in recognition of his influence on opportunities for African American singers.



1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste. 500

Washington, DC 20035

1740 Broadway, 15th floor

NYC, NY 10019


© 2023 The Denyce Graves Foundation

Terms & Conditions

Privacy Policy

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Our Federal tax ID is 86-2276658. 

The Denyce Graves Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. 



Your generous donation to the Denyce Graves Foundation supports our efforts in bringing Hidden Voices to more of our nation’s vocal arts programs, and help encourage a cultural landscape within the vocal arts at American universities that reflects the diverse world in which we live.

bottom of page