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Tully, Alice (Bigelow)
(b Corning, NY, 11 Sept 1902; d Greenwich, CT, 10 Dec 1993). American singer and music philanthropist. As an heiress to the Corning Glass fortune and daughter of the New York State senator William J. Tully, Alice Tully enjoyed a life of privilege and culture. She studied voice with Carolyn Torabotti in New York before moving to Paris in 1923 where she studied voice with Jean Périer and stage technique with Georges Wague. Her well received recitals typically included French-language works by Ernest Chausson, Henri Duparc, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, and Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck. Notably, she appeared in the first US opera performed in Paris, William Franke Harling’s Light from St. Agnes.
Tully served on the boards of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Juilliard School of Music, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and the Pierpont Morgan Library, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. She personally funded and actively participated in the design of New York’s first major performance venue devoted to chamber music—the aptly named Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The hall’s pipe organ is dedicated to the memory of her lover Edward Graeffe. For her lifelong service to music, Tully was awarded New York’s Handel Medallion (1970) and the National Medal of Arts (1985), and appointed an Officer of the French Legion d’honneur (1986).
“Alice Tully Makes Debut.” New York Times (30 April 1927)
A. Kozinn: Obituary, New York Times (11 Dec 1993)
M. Mender: Extraordinary Women in Support of Music (Lanham, MD, 1997)
A. Fuller: Alice Tully: an Intimate Portrait (Urbana, IL, 1999)