Alfreda Burke’s vocal artistry has been described as “voluptuous, creamy and luxuriant” (Chicago Tribune). She has appeared in concert throughout North America and in Europe. Alfreda made her Carnegie and Orchestra Hall debut in Strauss’ Elektra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim. Highlighted performances include the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia under Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre/DSO/Rackham Choir, Royal Philharmonic (London), Prague Philharmonic, Umbria Music Festival (Italy), TodiMusicFest (US), Miss World 2012, 2014, 2016, 2021 (China, UK, US, Puerto Rico); Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, Miss World Beauty With A Purpose and Rise Against Hunger events, Gala (South Africa 2017); Humanity Rising: Notre-Dame Reborn virtual Gala; Sentinel of the Sea Award Virtual Celebration honoring Gary Sinise; Holders Season Gala (Barbados), Lancaster Festival, Corrales Cultural Arts Council (New Mexico), Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park Gala, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center, Auditorium Theatre, Auditorium Theatre 125 Living the History, Orpheum Theatre (Memphis), Chicago Opera Theater, Chorus Angelorum, Chicagoland Pops Orchestra, Siamsa na nGael and NATO Chicago Summit, among others. She filmed a Prague PBS special, Hallelujah Broadway (Mind the Gap Films, Dublin), and recorded it on EMI/Manhattan Records label (Czech National Symphony Orchestra Studios, Prague). Alfreda and Rodrick Dixon were featured in PBS Great Performances Now Hear This “Florence Price and the American Migration” (2022). Alfreda Burke and Rodrick Dixon sang in the historical Mayoral Inauguration of The Honorable Lori E. Lightfoot (Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, 2019). She is honored to be a HistoryMaker and a permanent part of their collection at the Library of Congress.
Alfreda’s oratorio, opera, concert, and musical theater engagements include the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts broadcast on WFMT-FM; Mozart Requiem, Mass in C Minor, Coronation Mass in C Major; Handel’s Messiah; Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Beethoven’s Mass in C; Poulenc Gloria; Schubert’s Mass in G; Mahler 2nd & 8th Symphonies; Strauss’ Elektra; Puccini’s Turandot (Liu); Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Menotti’s Amahl & the Night Visitors; Rutter Requiem; Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem; Boulez’s Le Visage Nuptial under the baton of Pierre Boulez; Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess; Lokumbe’s Crucifixion Resurrection; Bernstein’s West Side Story; Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary Magdalene); Christianson & Anderson’s Too Hot to Handel; Kern’s Show Boat (Kennedy Center/National Tour, Auditorium Theatre with her son, Dean), directed by Harold ‘Hal’ Prince. A cycle of Paul Laurence Dunbar songs was written for her by Dr. Edward Hart, College of Charleston (2015); and spiritual settings were arranged for her by Belford Hernandez (2017). She was featured in Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Center Inaugural Festival and Radiothon. She sang for Francis Cardinal George, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, and the Office for Immigrant Affairs’ Keep Hope Alive Benefit.
Alfreda’s work in recordings, music video, television, radio, film, and commercials include soprano vocalist in Dawa movies (LA) soundtrack featuring Ramsey Lewis, Maestro James Mack, and members of the CSO; Bobby Lewis release; Celine Dion and R. Kelly’s I’m Your Angel video; numerous classical/crossover, sacred/secular profiles and broadcasts; films include The Visit, The Visitors, Unconditional Love, U.S. Marshals. Alfreda has made guest soloist appearances on the WTTW/Odyssey broadcast of 30 Good Minutes. She has performed the National Anthem for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Fire.
Alfreda Burke received rave reviews for a Community Concerts national tour and Following in the Footsteps concert with Tenor Rodrick Dixon. “Dixon and Burke sang with such deep and knowing pathos that the audience was kept in rapt silence until the end of the set. …Then Burke keened the achingly beautiful ‘Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child’… ” Alfreda’s discography includes her solo debut CD, From the Heart; Hallelujah Broadway (EMI/Manhattan Records). She recorded, and performed the Chicago Olympic 2016 Bid Anthem, I Will Stand (Millennium Park Gala), and served on the Arts & Culture Advisory Council. Burke’s Negro Mother performance with the Michael Teolis Singers is archived in the Margaret Herrick Library (the main repository of print, graphic, and research materials of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Recent and upcoming engagements include productions of Too Hot to Handel at the Michigan Opera Theatre/DSO/Rackham Choir (18 yrs.) and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre (15 yrs.), where production is live-streamed to prisons across the country, thanks to Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church and Auditorium Theatre; Orpheum Theatre (Memphis); Variety Children’s Charity Telethon; Tuba Bach Festival; Hannibal Lokumbe’s Crucifixion Resurrection; the Royal Philharmonic (London); Auditorium Theatre & DiBurke, Inc. co-produced duo show, live-streamed Holiday Concert and CD release; live-streamed At Home with the Auditorium, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks virtual tour 2020, Ravinia TV; Humanity Rising: Notre-Dame Reborn virtual Gala benefitting the rebuilding and restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral; Sentinel of the Sea Award Virtual Celebration honoring Gary Sinise; PBS Great Performances Now Hear This “Florence Price and the American Migration” (2022); Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Alfreda received Master’s and Bachelor of Music degrees from Roosevelt University; served as Alumna Ambassador for RU’s 60th Anniversary; serves on the RU CCPA Advisory Board (since 2010), Community Engagement Committee Chair (2018-2020); served on the Auditorium Theatre 125th Anniversary Season Committee.