Born in California into a musical family, soprano Audra McDonald received her classical vocal training at the Juilliard School, graduating in 1993. Since then, she has pursued a successful career in both classical voice and musical theater. She made her Carnegie Hall debut singing selections from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess with the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas in a concert televised internationally and recorded for BMG Classics. She has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Marin Alsop, and the Boston Pops under Keith Lockhart. She sang at the 1999 BBC Proms with Simon Rattle and also performed in the Divas at the Donmar series in London. On Broadway, she has won Tony Awards for featured roles in Ragtime (1998), Master Class (1996), and Carousel (1994). Her recordings include discs of songs by Harold Arlen, Leonard Bernstein, and Jerome Kern.