Ricky Little, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is director of choral groups and professor of voice at Union College, a position he has held since 2015. He previously was associate professor of voice at Morehead State University in Kentucky. An acclaimed baritone, Little is an active performer in opera and on the concert stage. Since his debut in Dobbiaco, Italy in 1984 as a soloist with the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra during the Gustav Mahler Memorial Music Week, he has sung throughout Europe and in the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda in hundreds of productions. He has performed in eighteen countries and in over twenty international music festivals.
Little graduated from Oakwood College with a B.A. in music. As a student, he sang in the Aeolians, OC's famous choir, under the direction of Alma Blackmon. When he returned to direct that group in 1988, he sought to reestablish the sound and quality Blackmon had achieved.
During his five and a half years of leadership he toured extensively with the choir, and they appeared numerous times on television, including singing on Good Morning America and Breath of Life telecasts. They also sang before the Prime Minister and Governor of Bermuda while touring there and were the featured group at the 50th anniversary dinner of the United Negro College Fund, at which President Bill Clinton was the featured speaker.
Little completed an M.A. in vocal pedagogy and a D.M.A. in vocal performance at The Ohio State University. During that time he also completed studies in opera performance in Graz, Austria.
He performs in and is a soloist and Assistant Conductor with the American Spiritual Ensemble, a highly select group of 16 to 22 singers, all soloists in their own right, who seek to preserve the legacy of the American Spiritual. They also perform jazz and other music of the black experience. They have enjoyed phenomenal success in their programs at opera houses and concert halls in the U.S., South America, Europe, and Japan.
Little's work has been widely reviewed and broadcast in the U.S., Italy, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Brazil, and other countries in South America. He has also appeared in the films The Impressario and The Spirituals and has been recorded on four CDs.
Sources: Union College website; Moorehead State University Department of Music Theatre and Dance website biography (2012); "MSU Music Professor to Appear in Documentary Film," MSU publicity Release 4 October 2006; The Aeolians, Directors Recall Precious Memories, Roy E. Malcolm, editor, Ricky Little, "That Aeolian Sound," 105 -115.