Westminster Choir College of Rider University will bestow the honorary Doctor of Music upon acclaimed bass Paul Plishka at its 84th Commencement exercises on Friday, May 17, at the Princeton University Chapel in Princeton.
A native of Old Forge, Pa., who also lived in Paterson, Plishka will also deliver the Commencement address.
Paul Plishka’s voice and artistry combine to make him one of the world’s foremost singers, praised by critics for his smooth, beautifully produced bass and polished dramatic skills. A distinguished American artist, he has become one of the most widely acclaimed and sought-after singers of our time.
After making his formal debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1967 as the Monk in La Gioconda, he became one of the company’s leading basses. He has appeared in leading roles with opera companies throughout the United States and Europe including San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Diego, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Plishka has also performed across the stages of Europe, including Geneva, Munich, La Scala, Hamburg, Barcelona, Vienna, Berlin, Zurich, Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Covent Garden in London. He retired from the Metropolitan Opera in 2012 after 46 years and 1,642 performances, placing him at No. 10 on the Met’s official list of most frequent performers, which dates back to the company’s 1883 inception.
Plishka has an extensive discography on Angel, ABC, Columbia, Erato, London, RCA and Vox Records. His recording of the Verdi Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Shaw won a Grammy award for the Best Classical Album of 1988. He has also recorded Luisa Miller and the Marriage of Figaro, both with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for Sony Classical, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the London Philharmonic and André Previn for London/Decca.
A National Patron of Delta Omicron, the international professional music fraternity, Plishka has earned a number of awards and recognition for his artistry, including the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and induction into the Hall of Fame for Great American Opera Singers.
The Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with Plishka several times, including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, which they performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the gala opening of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, which was broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances.