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Robert Sims, Gold Medal winner of the American Traditions Competition, has been hailed by critics for his rich tone, energetic performances, and convincing stage presence.

Mr. Sims has been highly praised for his moving interpretations of African American spirituals, and has given numerous recitals of them throughout the United States, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. He has appeared with many orchestras in the U.S., and toured Japan with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra where he was featured in a nationally televised performance of Bernstein's Opening Prayer. In 2005, Sims made his recital debut at Carnegie Hall and was invited by Jessye Norman to participate in Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy at Carnegie Hall in March of 2009. He recently appeared with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and made his debut in the United Kingdom with the Gibraltar Philharmonic. He has performed in concert at New York’s Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian Institution, the Ravinia, Chautauqua, Savannah, Grant Park, and Big Arts summer music festivals, the Latour de France International Music Festival, and the celebrated American Church in Paris.  Under the auspices of Canti Classics, Community Concerts, and Live On Stage Series, Sims has performed more than 150 recitals throughout the United States.

Sims and ODETTA at Carnegie Hall

Robert has appeared several times in performance on the Hour of Power from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, which is broadcast internationally, and was the focus of a Public Broadcasting Service special Artbeat Chicago. He has toured nationally in the ensemble Three Generations, a celebration of American spirituals and folk songs with renowned artists George Shirley, the late William Warfield and Benjamin Matthews.  Recently, he debuted with Simon Estes and Jubilant Sykes in the trio Simon, Sykes & Sims, singing spirituals and American songs.

Warfield, Matthews, Sims

Sims premiered the spiritual suite, I’m a Soldier, for baritone and orchestra composed for him by Lena McLin and orchestrated with Jan Bach.  He has appeared with Mercedes Ellington and David Baker in Duke Ellington’s My People, The Sacred Concerts, and has shared the stage with the legendary ODETTA in duo concerts of spirituals and blues.

After winning the Friedrich Schorr Opera Award, Mr. Sims appeared in Massenet's Cendrillon, which won the National Opera America Award.  He made his Goodman Theater debut in Kurt Weil’s Lost In the Stars under the direction of Frank Galati, and sang the role of Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Opera Carolina.  His other operatic credits include roles in Romeo et Juliette and Die Zauberflöte, Porgy and Bess, La Traviata, I Pagliacci, Cosi Fan Tutte and Le Nozze di Figaro.

Robert Sims and Cliff Jackson in recital at Oberlin Conservatory

Mr. Sims’ artistry is highlighted on four compact discs produced by Canti Classics: Soul of a Singer, Sims Sings Copland and Spirituals, In The Spirit, and Three Generations.  He is also featured as a guest artist on two recordings with the Moses Hogan Chorale: Deep River, and Gotta Home in Dat Rock.

Recently Robert has releases a CD of Spirituals arranged by Roland Hayes and a biography entitled "Roland Hayes: The Legacy of an American Tenor" (Indiana University Press 2016) in collaboration with Christopher A. Brooks.

Robert Sims is an alumnus of Oberlin Conservatory, SUNY Binghamton, Northwestern University, and Music Academy of the West. For more information visit


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