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Seth McCoy (Tenor)

Born: December 17, 1928 - Sanford, North Carolina, USA
Died: January 22, 1997 - Rochester, New York, USA

The black American tenor and teacher, Seth McCoy, studied at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (graduated, 1950), before pursuing vocal training with Pauline Thesmacher at the Cleveland Music School Settlement and with Antonia Lavanne in New York.

Seth Mcoy first gained notice as an active soloist, when he appeared with the Robert Shaw Chorale (1963-1965), with which he toured throughout the USA and South America. Later he appeared with the Bach Aria Group (1973-1980). He was also soloist with orchestras in most of the largest cities in the USA, such as the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He sang under Erich Leinsdorf, Zubin Mehta, and Mstislav Rostropovich, among others. In 1970, he performed at the Carmel Bach Festival under Sandor Salgo. In 1978 he made his European debut at the Aldebourgh Festival. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in February 1979 as Tamino in Mozartís Die Zauberflöte. His London debut was as soloist in J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) in 1986. He also toured Europe, South America, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Seth McCoy joined the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York in 1982, after serving as a voice professor at the University of Michigan. In his lifetime, he was honored with the Marian Anderson Scholarship, the Artist Advisory Council of Chicago Oratorio Award, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant, and the Albert Schweitzer Medal for Artistry in Voice.

Seth McCoy, professor of voice at the Eastman School of Music and one of the nation's premier oratorio soloists, died of complications from a long illness. McCoy is survived by his wife, Jane Gunter-McCoy, and his mother, Pauline Jackson. Contributions in his name may be made to the American Diabetes Association and the Kidney Foundation.

Source: University of Rochester Website; Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2001); Manfred Krugmann (Photo 01, July 2011)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Bach Aria Group


Aria from BWV 236

Samuel Baron / Yehudi Wyner


BWV 87, BWV 97, BWV 135, BWV 243
Selections from
BWV 20, BWV 29, BWV 41, BWV 55, BWV 113, BWV 114, BWV 136, BWV 180, BWV 205, BWV 236

Blanche Moyse


BWV 30

Dwight Oltman


BWV 34, BWV 61, BWV 244 [2nd]

George Poinar


BWV 92, BWV 249

Sandor Salgo


BWV 8, BWV 71 [1st], BWV 71 [2nd], BWV 232 [3rd]

Robert Shaw


BWV 232

Johannes Somary


BWV 244

Links to other Sites

Currents--February 10, 1997 (Rochester)


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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 10:57