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USD Hosts Critically Acclaimed Soprano Louise Toppin

Louise Toppin Louise Toppin, critically acclaimed soprano, will perform at the University of South Dakota, April 7.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will host critically acclaimed soprano Louise Toppin for a lecture, recital and masterclass on April 6-7.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Community, the Union of African American Students, the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Department of Music, Toppin and USD pianist Susan Keith Gray will perform “Songs of the African Diaspora” Friday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m in Colton Recital Hall in the Warren E. Lee Center for Fine Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

“Louise Toppin has worked endlessly as an entrepreneur, producer, teacher, singer and more to promote the art music of African-American composers,” said Gray. “She is a leading expert, through her knowledge of the composers and the art form. Furthermore, she is heralded for her amazing artistry as a singer in presenting this important story.”

On Thursday, April 6, Toppin will deliver a lecture titled “Music of African-American Composers” as part of USD’s recital lab series at 11 a.m. At 10 a.m., she will work with USD voice students in a masterclass.

Toppin’s performances include opera, art song and orchestral performances internationally. She was selected to perform for the 150th celebration of the ratification of the 13th amendment for Congress and President Obama at the U.S. Capitol in 2015. She serves on several boards including the North Carolina Arts Council, the National Association of Negro Musicians and she is the Director of the non-profit organization, Videmus.


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.