top of page
1928 - 1994

John McHenry Boatwright studied voice and piano at the New England Conservatory (graduated in 1954)

In 1953 made his professional debut at Tanglewood and then 1958 made his operatic debut with the New England Opera Theater in the role of Arkel in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.

1966 created the central role of Carter Jones in the premier of Gunther Schuller’s The Visitation in Hamburg, Germany. Sang this role at the Metropolitan Opera when it debuted at the house.

Sang the role of Crow in the first complete stereo recordings of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with the Cleveland Orchestra under Lorin Maazel.

1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste. 500

Washington, DC 20035

1740 Broadway, 15th floor

NYC, NY 10019


© 2023 The Denyce Graves Foundation

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Our Federal tax ID is 86-2276658. 

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


Taught at Ohio State University, a post he received through a letter of recommendation from Marian Anderson.

Sang at President Jimmy Carter’s 1977 inauguration.

Married the late Duke Ellington’s sister, Ruth Ellington, in 1979. He produced the Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts performed in New York and London in 1982.

bottom of page