Louise Toppin has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral, oratorio and recital performances world-wide.

Represented by Joanne Rile Artist Management, she toured in "Gershwin on Broadway" with pianist Leon Bates and currently tours with Joseph Joubert, piano and Robert Sims, baritone.   She has recorded more than eighteen compact disks of primarily American Music songs with piano and with orchestra including solo CDs Songs of Illumination, (Centaur Records), and on Albany Records Ah love, but a day (with John O’Brien, piano) He’ll Bring it to Pass, (Joseph Joubert, piano),  Heart on the Wall with the Prague Radio Symphony and La Saison des fleurs with John Obrien.  Her newest release is Vol. I Songs of Love and Justice (9/1/21) songs of Adolphus Hailstork with the Dvorak Symphony in Prague, and John O’Brien, pianist.

In 2021, she edited and published 8 anthologies and collections of songs by African American composers with Classical Vocal Reprints including An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Songs, Rediscovering Margaret Bonds: Spiritual Suite for piano and Bonds Songs, five volumes of Songs by Adolphus Hailstork and an edition of Margaret Bonds's choral work “St. Francis’ Prayer” for SATB with Hildegard Press in March 2021. In 2023 she added an additional 4 publications Anthology of songs by Harry T. Burleigh, a second volume of Margaret Bonds songs More Still, and 2 other publications.

Her 2022-2023 performances include the world premiere of Julia Perry’s Frammenti dalla lettere with the Akron Symphony Orchestra (November in Ohio), a performance of African American women composers with Boston's Landmark Orchestra (July in Massachusetts), the world premiere of A Prayer for Love by Mark Lomax, Jr. with the Cavani String Quartet in January in Ohio, and a performance with Julia Bullock and the New World Symphony February in Florida.  She also co-curated and sang a festival in May 2021 of four concerts on Black Music in Hamburg, Germany with Thomas Hampson with Larry Brownlee, Justin Austin, and Leah Hawkins, and in October 2021 appearing as soloist with the renowned Experiential Orchestra in New York City conducted by James Blachly, conductor, and a recital of the songs of Harry Burleigh on the Oxford Lieder Festival in Oxford, England.  The Oxford appearance marked the first appearance of African American Art Song on this prestigious festival.   Other performances include the 150th celebration of the ratification of the 13th amendment for Congress and President Obama at the U.S. Capitol; a performance in Havana, Cuba with the women’s orchestra Camerata Romeu and the opening of the Smithsonian’s African American Heritage Museum.  She currently tours in the “New Generation Project” with Marquita Lister (a multi-cultural response to African American poetry) and “Masters of the Spiritual” honoring Jacqueline Hairston, Roland Carter and Lena McLin with Robert Sims.

As a scholar, she has lectured on the music of African American composers and has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered (Margaret Bonds); co-hosted the Minnesota Orchestra “Listening Project” concert in October of 2022, and can be heard weekly on her show: Conversations in African American music, exploring the stories of many African American composers and cultural institutions.  Her series episode on “Florence Price” was nominated and won a Touchstone Award for broadcast journalism.

She has  appeared at many national conventions and on many college campuses including Harvard, Yale, Tufts, Duke Universities and the Cherubino Conservatory in Florence, Italy.  As the co-founder and director of the George Shirley Vocal Competition that focuses exclusively on repertoire by African American art song, and Videmus (a non-profit organization that promotes the concert repertoire of African American and women composers), she encourages the performance and scholarship of African American compositions by students and scholars.   She is also the founder of the Africandiasporamusicproject.org that is a research tool to locate the repertoire of composers of the African Diaspora from the 1600s to the present.  

Previously, Dr. Toppin was the Distinguished University Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  She currently holds a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship and is Professor of Music (Voice) at The University of Michigan.  She is a board member for  Opera Ebony, the Denyce Graves Foundation Educational committee, ArtSmart, and the Hampsong Foundation.

Artist's Concerts