Photo by Jim Dennis Photography 1989
Susheel Bibbs is a classical singer, actress, and Independent filmmaker. She also runs The Living Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that furthers the careers of other professional artists who have championed inclusive programming, and M.E.P. Productions, an award-winning stage and film production company, selected as the best in Sacramento, CA in 2021. Bibbs has won many awards and accolades in a career that has spanned over 30 years.
In music, as a professional classical singer, she has won critical acclaim, having sung in opera, recitals, and orchestras in the US, Canada, and Europe for over 26 years of that career. Of her singing in recital, The St. Louis Post Dispatch classical-music critic (among many others) labeled her, "Quite simply superb!"
A graduate of Boston University's School for the Arts and the New England Conservatory, Bibbs in her early career won full scholarships and fellowships, a coveted Laid Foundation one-year stipend, apprenticeship at The Santa Fe Opera (where she sang, taught stage movement, and danced) and a scholarship to Salzburg's Mozarteum Summer Academy, where she was chosen to appear in performance for the Salzburg Festival accompanied by the renowned pianist Erich Werba.
Bibbs next debuted in recital in Boston's celebrated Jordan Hall, at The Opera Co. of Boston, and the Santa Fe Opera. There followed opera for PBS/WGBH, tours as a roster artist with several New England Companies, and ultimately dozens of professional opera and recital performances from Nantucket to New Orleans, across the Land, and in concert halls from New York's Lincoln Center to San Francisco's Herbst Theater.
Before returning mid-career to singing, Bibbs became the youngest Executive Producer of a national series in the PBS System at WGBH-TV and Radio in Boston under a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Ultimately, she won a national EMMY, 2 CPB BEST PROGRAM awards, and more. Her dramatic-readings series THE SPIDERS WEB also went national on NPR and took Bibbs into the areas of directing acting, acting, and voice over, which she continued in her later US films and also in Canada as an award-winning cartoon character.
After returning to performing, Susheel created 6 documentary films in which she starred or appeared in cameo on subjects related to her performances. These films have shared 26 international awards, including 2 all-screens Telly Awards. Her feature film MEET MARY PLEASANT, on the Mother of Civil Rights Mary Ellen Pleasant, was included in the Cannes Film Festival and is now on Amazon Prime Video. That feature and her VOICES FOR FREEDOM short film on the Hyers Sisters are now on PBS. Others are streaming. In addition, her book on Mary Ellen Pleasant is also an Amazon bestseller.
Bibbs still performs and now presents masterclasses and lectures for opera companies and a host of presenters, primarily on black classical song, Mary Ellen Pleasant, and The Hyers Sisters. Her concert and film work have by now been showcased in Europe and North America on TV and by hundreds of on-site presenters -- The History Channel, Arts and Humanities organizations, and private sponsors, such as Ontario's Promised Land Project, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The National Endowment for the Arts, California Humanities, The California and Missouri Arts Councils, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and St. Louis museums and universities, HBCU's such as Morgan State University Cheney, Spelman, Morehouse, and Dillard, in almost all Western States, the National Parks Service Network-to-Freedom Program, Pillsbury Corporation, The Opera Theater of St. Louis, and The Pittsburg Festival Opera --to name a diverse few.
Recently Bibbs’ performances, film work, and her life have been chronicled nationally in a PBS Arts Showcase and the inspirational, international "Genius is Common" movement. She has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis' Who's Who Among Women, and The Highest Commendation of The Supervisors of The City and County of San Francisco for contributions to the Arts and Humanities. Susheel most wishes to inspire others to understand "their genius" --what they have to offer and to see its value so that they may flourish and inspire others with their talents and success.