Blanche Burton Lyles


In the world of classical music, seasoned and multifaceted concert pianist Blanche Burton-Lyles is one of the most talented women to grace world-renowned stages, ballrooms and musical circuits. A South Philadelphia native and member of Union Baptist Church, she continues to actively enjoy a career that has spanned well over 40 years. Burton-Lyles is a retired music educator of the Philadelphia Public School System. A recipient of many outstanding performance awards and humanitarian honors, she was the first African-American woman pianist to play at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Recent honors include the Shirley Chisholm Award, Mary McLeod Bethune Award, Awards from Delta Sigma Theta (Judge Sadie Alexander), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Edyth Ingram Award as well as the Philadelphia 76er's Community Service Award. She also received the Martin Luther King, Jr. 2007 Drum Major Honoree for her excellent musical expertise and community service on behalf of the Marian Anderson Historical Society. In addition to her musical performances, Burton-Lyles is the founder and president of the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc. and maintains the Marian Anderson residence/museum and the Marian Anderson birthplace. A graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, this illustrious performer became the first African-American woman pianist to receive the coveted Bachelor of Music degree. She studied under Madam Isabella Vengerova and Leo Ornstein, Sr. She also received a music degree from Temple University.