Soprano Angela Brown donates personal papers to IU’s Archives of African American Music and Culture

Indiana University announced today (Oct. 14) that renowned opera singer Angela Brown, who honed her craft at the Jacobs School of Music, has selected IU's Archives of African American Music and Culture as the repository for her collected papers and an array of items related to her career.

"Being from Indiana and having graduated from IU, Angela is well-known, revered and has a legacy in this state," said IU Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology Portia Maultsby, director of the Archives of African American Music and Culture.

"The archives' location at IU and our collection and programming focus on African American music and musicians make us a logical and appropriate site for this incredible collection. The Angela Brown Collection will provide an invaluable resource for scholarly research and course development on African American opera singers, as well as broader issues on African American music and culture."

The Angela Brown Collection

The Angela Brown Collection will include recordings on cassette, videotape and DVD, photographs, personal papers such as certificates and awards, posters, programs and brochures, and magazine and newspaper articles about the singer who made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Aida in 2004.

"I am very excited that the dream of having an Angela Brown Collection is coming true through the IU Archives of African American Music and Culture," Brown said. "It is awe-inspiring to think that young people will be able to learn from my life's work as it unfolds. Hopefully, they will be inspired by my 'highs' and learn from my 'lows.' A huge thanks to the Archives of African American Music and Culture for deeming me worthy of being a part of such a prestigious collection. I am grateful and humbled for this to be in my home state of Indiana."

Maultsby is pleased to start archiving the collection while Brown is still in her 40s. As a creative artist gets older, Maultsby said, early aspects of her career may pale in significance in the artist's mind, causing some of the most interesting, formative items to be forgotten or left out.

"Angela's collection is a valuable resource because it allows us to chronicle the full development of the career of an African American opera singer -- particularly one who has maintained her participation in and allegiance to the African American musical tradition," Maultsby said. "This collection can inspire others who may have been advised to choose between the world of classical music and that of African American vernacular traditions. Angela, through her continued success, shows us that one music tradition does not have to be sacrificed for the other. It is indeed possible be Angela Brown the gospel singer, Angela Brown the R&B or popular music singer, and Angela Brown the opera singer."

Brown's general manager, Janet Jarriel of JEJ Artists, said the archiving project will bring cohesiveness and chronology to the singer's disparate collection of career-related items. "It also will make the collection accessible to other young singers who can see Angela's route," Jarriel said. "She didn't take a straight path, and she didn't start out wanting to be an opera singer. It's interesting to see how lots of different experiences in her early years influenced her career."

EDITORS: Angela Brown will be available to speak with media today (Oct. 14) after an 11:30 a.m. presentation at Indiana University's Musical Arts Center (south mezzanine). The presentation will include remarks from IU Provost Karen Hanson, IU Professor Portia Maultsby, Angela Brown and Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards.

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