Ithaca College Awards Honorary Degree to Westminster’s Sweet

Friday, October 9, 2009

Soprano Sharon Sweet, a member of the faculty at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, had the honorary Doctor of Music bestowed upon her by Ithaca College at its 114th Commencement ceremony this past spring. Perhaps best known for her worldwide performances in the title role of Aida, Sweet earned her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Ithaca College School of Music in 1978.

“Her incredible career has always brought great prestige and constant accolades to our School of Music,” said the school’s dean, Greg Woodward, in presenting Sweet the doctorate. “As both a world-class performer and a dedicated pedagogue, she is the perfect realization of what the School of Music believes in and constantly strives towards.”

Sweet began her international career with a concert performance of Aida in Munich, which served as a springboard to landing lead roles in the opera houses of Berlin, Vienna, Zurich, Paris and Rome, among others. She made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in the spring of 1990 in Il Trovatore, and in subsequent seasons she performed in such works as Don Giovanni, Tannhäuser and Turandot. Sweet returned to the Met in the fall of 1999 for a staging of Aida.

In frequent demand to judge international competitions and to lead master classes, Sweet has been a member of Westminster’s voice faculty since 1999. She has devoted a substantial part of each season to her appearances in concert, collaborating with such conductors as James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Robert Shaw and Sir Georg Solti. Her discography includes recordings of Don Giovanni and Lohengrin, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, and Verdi’s Requiem. Sweet’s honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation and the Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year from the Dallas Opera Company.

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Soprano Sharon Sweet, a member of the faculty at Westminster Choir College