1904-85, American tenor, born in New York City as Jacob Pincus Perelmuth. Jan Peerce grew up in the New York City streets, and attended De Witt Clinton High School and Columbia University. Like so many others of his generation, he had taken violin lessons, and his first regular money was earned by playing the violin in public. As part of the program he would also sing popular songs, and the discovery came almost accidentally that he had an extraordinary voice.
An engagement followed as tenor soloist with the Radio City Music Hall company. Its radio broadcasts and stage programs embraced light classical music and great moments of opera, and Jan Peerce soon had a nation-wide following. Concert engagements came, and then a sudden and extraordinary leap to fame. The great conductor, Arturo Toscanini, heard Jan Peerce and found him to be the tenor he had been looking for to sing the leading roles in his broadcasts and recordings of opera and choral works. The recordings that followed these broadcasts are among the outstanding musical legacies of our time. Soon the "living" operatic stage beckoned in San Francisco and then New York.
Jan Peerce made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera Company on November 29, 1941 singing Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata. He was hailed by the critics as the "All-American successor to the 'greats' of opera's almost extinct 'Golden Age.'" He has since become a celebrated name in the world's musical centers, and in 1956 made a sensation in Moscow as a musical "cultural exchange" ambassador, being the first American to sing with the famed Bolshoi Theatre opera. He was pressed to return not only to sing but also to teach a master class.
*Courtesy of: cantorialmusic.com