Beth Morrison, Julia Bullock, & Jamie Barton Named as Musical America’s Artists of the Year

By Logan Martell

Musical America has announced its choices for 2021’s Artist of the Year, with each writer selecting a different artist for their achievements and contributions to the art form. The recipients this year include producer Beth Morrison, soprano Julia Bullock, and mezzo Jamie Barton.

Selected by Steve Smith, Beth Morrison is noted for her leading role in the Beth Morrison Projects, under which a number of modern composers and artists have been able to share their gifts through the creation of new works for touring and presentation through partnering companies.

“The germ of BMP really was: how do I create something in opera like what I’m seeing in avant-garde theater, in terms of relevance and production values?” writes Morrison. “That’s what led me to forming a company that was about living composers.”

Clive Paget has chosen Julia Bullock, citing the velvety soprano she brings to bear while also using her voice to bring attention to matters of activism and racial inequality.

“I have no written agenda, and I’m not interested in manipulating people’s minds, but I can tell you it’s super exciting when other young artists call for advice, saying they are thinking about such and such subject matter. ‘You’ve done this—do you think it’s possible?’ And I say yeah, it’s possible.”

Heidi Waleson has chosen Jamie Barton, not only for her success on leading stages since her Cardiff Singer of the World victory in 2013, but for her championing of personal causes such gay rights and equitable artistic representation. Barton is also a member of the Atlanta Opera’s newly-formed Company Players, a group that will help to reimagine the company’s 2020-21 season.

“They are investing in the artists. They are trying to find a way, not only to ensure the survival of the company, but also that of the people who would be up onstage making it happen,” says Barton.