|Year of Birth:||1912|
|Year of Death:||2009|
Anne Brown (August 9, 1912 – March 13, 2009) was an American soprano who created the role of "Bess" in the original production of George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess in 1935. She was also a radio and concert singer. She settled in Norway in 1948 and later became a Norwegian citizen.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Annie Wiggins Brown was the daughter of Dr. Harry F. Brown, a physician, and his wife, the former Mary Allen Wiggins. Her father was the grandson of a slave and her mother's parents were of black, Cherokee Indian, and Scottish-Irish origins. She had three sisters, Henrietta, Mamie, and Harriet. As a young child, Brown showed a great musical talent and according to family legend she could sing a perfect scale at just 9 months old.
As an African-American, she was not allowed to attend a Roman Catholic elementary school in her native Baltimore. She trained at Morgan College and then applied to the Peabody Institute, but was rejected from the school due to her race. Brown then applied to the Juilliard School in New York at the encouragement of the wife of the owner of The Baltimore Sun. She was admitted to Juilliard when she was 16, becoming the first African-American vocalist to attend there. She studied singing with Lucia Dunham and was awarded Juilliard's Margaret McGill scholarship when she was 20 years old. At the age of nineteen she married a fellow Juilliard student, but the marriage soon ended in divorce.