Sir Willard White, CBE, OM, with Governor General of Jamaica at Awards Ceremony at Kings House
Sir Willard White, CBE, receives OM from Governor General of Jamaica
Sir Willard Wentworth White, OM, CBE Patron of Music Unites Jamaica Foundation
Sir Willard Wentworth White, world renowned bass-baritone, was born on October 10, 1946, in Ewarton, Jamaica.
Willard White, a graduate of Excelsior High School in Kingston and founding member of the Jamaican Folk Singers, commenced formal musical training at the Jamaica School of Music and continued his studies at The Julliard School in New York where he received several scholarships during his studies at the conservatory.
He made his professional operatic debut with New York City Opera, where he played the character of Colline in La Bohème in 1974. His European debut was with Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, Wales, where he played Osmin in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio. He has since gone on to perform in the world's major opera houses, and his powerful voice and commanding stage presence have made him a popular and admired singer across a wide range of musical styles. White is best known for performing as Mephistopheles in The Damnation of Faust, a role he has played many times. Besides his traditional classical repertoire, he is celebrated for his performances as Porgy in Porgy and Bess.
In recognition of his extraordinary contribution to classical music, Sir Willard has received several awards during his career:
In 1995, he was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) and the Gold Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica. He was presented with the Order of Merit (OM) in 2000 by the Government of Jamaica. Sir Willard was knighted in the Birthday Honours ofQueen Elizabeth II in 2004. in 2015 Sir Willard White received the National Chorale of Jamaica Medal of Excellence.