2010 National Medal of Arts presented by President by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at The White House in February 2010. Early career (1969–1979)
After graduating Norman like many young musicians at the time moved to Europe to establish herself. At the age of twenty-three when asked by an interviewer in Germany how Jessye Norman would characterize her voice Jessye Norman replied that "pigeonholes are only comfortable for pigeons.
A dramatic soprano Norman is associated in particular with the Wagnerian repertoire and with the roles of Sieglinde Ariadne Alceste and Leonore. Norman is a contemporary opera singer and recitalist and is a successful performer of classical music.