Marquita Lister has earned worldwide critical praise for the past two decades. Critics all over the world rave about soprano Marquita Lister's poignant, precise and intelligent technique. With an impressive repertoire that includes the masterworks of Verdi, Strauss, Puccini and Gershwin, her courage and a determination to dare the utmost in performance are her hallmark.
Ms. Lister has sung with major opera companies such as the San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Montreal Opera, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg, La Scala, Semperoper Dresden, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera Bastille Paris, Michigan Opera Theater, to name a few. She has performed with world renowned artists, including Placido Domngo, Justino Diaz, Frederica Von Stade, Simon Estes, Sherrill Milnes and Marcello Giordani.
Her convincing performance as Bess in New York City Opera's Emmy nominated production of Porgy and Bess earned her the ''NYCO Diva Award 2002." Ms. Lister also received the "Artist of the Year Award," from the Pittsburgh Opera, and has appeared in television broadcast productions of An Evening with the Pops; Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops (PBS), A Christmas Celebration: Dallas Symphony Orchestra (KXAS- TV), and Live from Lincoln Center (PBS). In studio, Ms. Lister recorded George Gershwin's Blue Monday and Excerpts from Porgy and Bess for Telarc Records with Erich KunzeI and the Cincinnati Pops (Grammy nominated), Where the Sunsets Bleed: The Chamber Music of Edward Knight on Albany Records, and the critically acclaimed Porgy and Bess recording on the Decca label hailed by Opera News as one of the best recordings of 2006. In 2012, Ms. Lister recorded composer Michael Ching’s contribution to the Opera America Songbook commissioned for opening celebrations of the National Opera Center in New York.
Her renown spreading beyond the stage, Ms. Lister received the National Rehabilitation Hospital’s prestigious Victory Award in December of 2011, enshrining her achievements alongside those of fellow musician honorees Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, actress Teri Garr and Senator Robert Dole. Her portrait now hangs in the hallways gallery of the Medstar National Rehabilitation Network. She is regularly featured on radio airwaves with hosts eager to learn more about her intriguing and multi-faceted persona. Of special note are her multi-segment talk show interviews with program host Doug Llewllyn on Close-Up Talk Radio and regular appearances on WAMU radio.
At the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Ms. Lister was host and soloist for Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s innovative Outreach and Educations program “America the Beautiful” – a musical tour of the American Landscape.
In collaboration with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony, Ms. Lister was the featured soloist in the debut of Mother’s Lament, an orchestral work created by composer James Lee and lyricist Vincent Stringer that addresses the violent tragedies of police violence and racial profiling.
A passionate advocate for education and the arts, Marquita Lister has spearheaded fundraising efforts and appeared in performance to benefit numerous charitable concerns, particularly scholarship programs of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., and The “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation where there is a scholarship in her name. In 2017, Ms. Lister established the Composer’s Prize for the distinguished George Shirley African-American Art Song and Operatic Competition.
Ms. Lister is presently collaborating with soprano Louise Toppin to pioneer The African American Art Song and Arranged Negro Spirituals for a New Generation Project. The project commissions original work from poets and composers that will comprise a new songbook affirming the importance and relevance of America’s art songs and spirituals in a contemporary milieu. Together, Ms. Lister and Ms. Toppin premiered many of these works in Havanna, Cuba. Ms. Lister is enjoying a long list of master class credits in both the U.S. and Canada which includes the National Association of Teachers of Singing Southwest Regional Convention, Baltimore School for the Arts, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Edmonton Opera, Calgary Opera and numerous universities and colleges. She will begin her spring master class schedule with the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC, followed by a workshop presentation at the 2018 Voice Foundation Symposium.
Ms. Lister received her Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory of Music, where she graduated with distinction. She received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Oklahoma City University. She is the Coordinator of the Vocal Studies Program and Director of the Opera Workshop and Opera@Morgan. She is a lifetime member of Sigma Alpha Iota.