Date of Birth: 1945
Place of Birth: Birmingham, Alabama
When Francois Clemmons was five, his family moved to Youngstown, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in 1967 from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. In 1969 he earned an MFA in Music from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Clemmons joined the cast of the Peabody Award-winning NET-TV show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" in 1968 at WQED in Pittsburgh. In 1969 he won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Pittsburgh and went on to place third in the Cleveland Auditions. As a result, he was awarded a Kathryn Long Fellowship with the Metropolitan Opera Studio in New York, where he studied with George Shirley. While with the Studio, he made debuts in 1971 at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and at the Lincoln Center Library. In 1973 the American composer Carlisle Floyd requested his participation in the production of his opera "Of Mice and Men", performed by the Cincinnati Opera and Houston Grand Opera (1973). Mr. Clemmons' recital schedule has also taken him to the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Shippensburg State College, and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. In the fall of 1973, he was appointed an Affiliate Artist. In 1974 he made debuts with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera in "Porgy and Bess" and with Opera South in the world premiere of William Grant Still's "Bayou Legend." Mr. Clemmons has also made a number of oratorio appearances.
In addition to his concert career, the artist has staged "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" concert/visits throughout the United States, visiting more than 30 cities. As a poet, he has been published in numerous magazines, including Black World, and in three notable anthologies, among them "A Galaxy of Black Writing" and "To Gwen With Love."
Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame