Salli Terri

From Academic Kids

Salli C. Terri (September 3, 1922, London, Ontario, Canada - May 5, 1996, Long Beach, California) was a singer and songwriter.

Terri studied at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where she obtained her BA degree in music and then went on to earn a Master's degree in music from the University of Southern California. At the beginning of the 1950’s, she taught music and drama at the American School in Tokyo, Japan then returned to America where she ultimately taught music theory at Fullerton Junior College in Fullerton, California and directed a women's choir at UCLA.

A mezzo soprano, gifted with a haunting voice filled with feeling and conviction, Salli Terri became one of North America's finest singers. Her professional career began with appearances as a solo artist and arranger with the Roger Wagner Chorale on many recordings. In 1953, she performed with the group at the coronation celebration for Queen Elizabeth II in London. Her eclectic repertoire included religious music, love songs, folk tunes and ballads. In addition to her many LP’s with the Roger Wagner Chorale, she made several solo albums, staged a one-woman show, and sang in both film and television roles as well as doing the voice-over for the cow in the 1964 motion picture,"Mary Poppins."

At the first Grammy Awards of 1959, Salli Terri was nominated for Best Classical Vocal Performance. The album, "Duets with the Spanish Guitar, " also featuring guitarist Laurindo Almeida and flutist Martin Ruderman won the Grammy for Best Classical Engineered Recording. On this 1958 recording produced by Robert E. Myers, referred to by many as a masterpiece, Ms. Terri sang the aria from Heitor Villa-Lobos composition, "Bachianas Brasileiras No.5" that the composer declared as the best recorded version of his work. The album, with additions from later recordings and re-named "Duets with Spanish Guitar" was re-released in 1990 on a CD in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and in France and still continues to sell well.

Salli Terri was married to composer John Biggs (1932- ) with whom she had two daughters. In her later years, she suffered several strokes that left her partially incapacitated until her passing at her home in Long Beach, California in 1996.

Solo Discography (LP) :

  • "I Know My Love" (1961)
  • "Songs of the American Land" (1960)
  • "At the Gate of Heaven" (1960)
  • "Conversations with the Guitar" (1960)
  • "Songs of Enchantment" (1959)
  • "For My True Love" (1959)
  • "Duets with the Spanish Guitar" (1958)

Books and scores by Salli Terri :

  • "Rounds For Everyone From Everywhere" (1961)
  • "Shaker Worship Service" (1971)
  • "Around The Year In Rounds" (1974)
  • "A Moravian Lovefeast" (1978)
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