Swedish citizen Barbara Hendricks was born in Stephens, Arkansas and studied at the Juilliard School of Music (New York) with Jennie Tourel, after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Chemistry at the age of 20 from the University of Nebraska.
In 1974 she made her operatic and recital debuts and since that moment, Barbara Hendricks’ career and artistry has never ceased to grow, she has become one of the world’s most loved and admired musicians. She has sung in the major opera houses (including the Paris Opera, the MET in New York, Covent Garden in London and La Scala in Milano), concerts halls and festivals in the world, under the direction of the greatest conductors of our time such as Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Sir Colin Davis, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Sir Georg Solti. One of the most active recitalists of her generation, she is known, in addition to her vast repertoire of German Lieder, as a leading interpreter and promoter of French, American and Scandinavian music, performing in recital and chamber music. Barbara Hendricks also made numerous world creations of composers such as Gilbert Amy, David Del Tredici, Tobias Picker, Mari Takano, Bruno Mantovani, Krzysztof Penderecki, Arvo Pärt, Sven-David Sandström and Peter Eötvös.
She made her jazz debut at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1994 and has since then performed regularly in renowned jazz festivals throughout the world. Barbara Hendricks has sold more than 14 million records, recorded nearly 100 albums. In 2006, she launched her own record label, Arte Verum, for which she is now recording exclusively.
She has worked to promote and defend Human Rights and in 2007 after 20 years of untiring service to the cause of refugees as a UNHCR ambassador they appointed her their only Honorary Ambassador for Life. In 1998 she founded the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation coordinating her work for refugees and Human Rights Defenders.
Among the numerous awards that she has received for her artistic achievements and humanitarian work include Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, Prince of Asturias Award, Swedish King’s Gold medal, Doctor of Music from the Nebraska Wesleyan University, Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Honorary Doctor of Music from the Juilliard School of Music in New York; she is a Member of the Swedish Academy of Music.
Her memoirs, Lifting My Voice have been published in English, French, Spanish and Swedish.