Donald Palumbo became the Met's chorus master in the 2007-2008 season. He sang in choruses all his life, he says, and eventually worked his way up without any formal conservatory training.
Marty Sohl/Courtesy of the Met
Toni Morrison won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988 for her novel Beloved. In 1993 she became the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature. And in 2012, President Obama awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom.