Marilyn Horne at 71: singer, teacher, grandmother _ and now, winner of a lifetime achievement award.
"I think that I'm making a difference for a lot of young singers," said the mezzo-soprano, who will officially receive the award Monday from London-based Gramophone magazine, considered an authority in the classical recording industry.
After a performing career that spanned nearly a half century on the world's top stages, the Pennsylvania native heads a nonprofit foundation launched in 1994 at Carnegie Hall to encourage young talent and nurture audiences for vocal recitals.
The truth, she says, is that it's a challenge to get audiences to listen to classical music.
"But you have to keep talking to people and say, 'Hey, come on, try it! _ try it once at least!" Horne said in an interview.
She especially encourages new American singers and coaches them.
"Americans can pretty much sing anything, whereas foreign singers are often limited in style, language, even composer. Americans are fairly utilitarian _ you're looking at one. I sing everything!"
These days, after decades of performing repertoire ranging from Bernstein to Beethoven, she sings lighter fare like musical comedy and great old American songs.
Music aside, her real lifetime achievement is "my daughter and my three beautiful grandchildren."
Horne is to be the guest of honor Monday at an industry event hosted by Gramophone at Manhattan's Steinway Hall, AP reported.