Boston, MA – Boston University College of Fine Arts Professor of Music Simon Estes performed as part of the “Celebrate Africa – The Grand Finale” concert at the Coca Cola Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday, July 9, 2010. The world-renowned bass-baritone was joined by the Simon Estes Music School Choir in a performance of Save the Children, Save Their Lives, arranged by Michael Golemo, a professor and chair of music at Iowa State University. Mr. Estes and the choir opened the concert, which also featured Canadian singer Bryan Adams; popular South African soprano Patty Yende; and renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. The event honored the 2010 FIFA World Cup and generated support for United Against Malaria, an organization dedicated to raising awareness for the fight against malaria. Save the Children, Save Their Lives will be featured on Mr. Estes’ upcoming CD, with some of the proceeds benefiting the Simon Estes Music School in South Africa.
Simon Estes is an operatic bass-baritone of African-American descent, and has enjoyed a major international opera career since the 1960s. He has sung at most of the world’s major opera houses, as well as in front of presidents, popes, and internationally renowned figures and celebrities. He was notably part of the first generation of black opera singers to achieve global success and is viewed as part of an instrumental group of performers who helped break down the barriers of racial prejudice in the opera world. Estes is a Professor of Music at the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Music and the F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Artist in Residence at Iowa State University.
The Simon Estes Music School Choir is part of the Simon Estes Music High School Trust. The school was established in 1997 after Estes visited a number of school choirs on the Cape Flats. He was particularly impressed by a group of high school choristers from the Khayelitsha Township community. Though the pupils were from a socially and academically disadvantaged background, they could still produce a very high standard of music performance. He was moved when told that the majority of those pupils were musically gifted but because of the social economic situation and general poverty these children would never have the opportunity to realize their full potential. Today this project, which started with 60 learners, has grown into an institution catering for three hundred learners from grade 8 to 12 (secondary school level) with the ages ranging from 13-19 years old. The Simon Estes Music School promotes the formal training and teaching of Western classical and traditional African music specifically to disadvantaged learners.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission. The Boston University College of Fine Arts was created in 1954 to bring together the School of Music, the School of Theatre, and the School of Visual Arts. The University’s vision was to create a community of artists in a conservatory-style school offering professional training in the arts to both undergraduate and graduate students, complemented by a liberal arts curriculum for undergraduate students. Since those early days, education at the College of Fine Arts has begun on the BU campus and extended into the city of Boston, a rich center of cultural, artistic and intellectual activity.