Wiiliam Blankenship was born in the small Central Texas town of Gatesville, surrounded by a family of amateur musicians. He listened to all kinds of music on the radio, in films and in church and tried to imitate that music out in the cow pasture or down on the river.

Because of World War II he moved to Austin, Texas, where he attempted to play football and secretly took voice lessons from University of Texas graduate students. Through this study he was able to become a soloist in a prominent church and in 1947, with no formal music training whatsoever, he was awarded a 3 year a capella choir scholarship to University of North Texas in Denton.

During this period opera became most important to him. He received his Bachelor of Music. During the Korean War 1950-53 Will served in the US Airforce and was able to continue his studies off base. He performed for military broadcasts in radio and television.

He continued his study for another two years at Juilliard School in New York, performing several known and unknown stage works. The Mary Garden Award for European Study enabled him to take his family, wife Barbara Connally and three small children, to Europe where he studied at the Vienna Academy of Music.

Finally, after these many years of study (working on 15 operas and 7 oratorios) he began his professional career in the German language opera houses of Klagenfurt, Braunschweig, Bern and Mannheim. At the same time he gave many guest appearances all around Europe.

Long term contracts with Vienna Volksoper in 1963 and Vienna Staatsoper in 1966.

Specialising in Mozart and lyric tenor roles Blankenship sang all around the world, but continuous illnesses curtailed his career at its peak and he retired from the operatic stage in 1975.

Blankenship accepted a voice teaching position at the Sydney Conservatory in Australia. He then returned to Texas to teach at the University of Texas before going to New York city in 1980.

Will appeared in various soaps (ALL MY CHILDREN), television commercials, Tommy Tune´s Broadway hit MY ONE AND ONLY and directed and acted in several plays such as CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

In 1991 Will returned to Vienna, where he still resides. The death of wife Barbara was a great blow to him and his family. But he still teaches, still does some acting. And has found solace in the companionship of Sawako Yamada, pianist and accompanist.

Will received much help and financial support along the way. He dedicates his recordings to all those people who helped to fulfill the dream of the boy from Gatesville: To sing.


William Blankenship hatte drei Karrieren:Sänger, Gesangslehrer und Schauspieler.

Er wurde in der texanischen Kleinstadt Gatesville geboren.  Seine Mutter Hortense war Musiklehrerin und eine große Verehrerin von Johann Strauß.

Seine ersten Auftritte hatte er vor den Kühen seines Vaters Ernest und bald darauf vor den Mädchenklassen seiner Schule, obwohl zu dieser Zeit künstlerische Berufe in Texas als unmännlich galten. Ausgenommen Schauspieler in Cowboyfilmen.

Als 19-jähriger Solist im Kirchenchor gewann er ein Stipendium zum Gesangsstudium bei Mary McCormic an der University of Texas, wo er bereits ein Jahr später seine ersten Opern-Hauptrollen sang.

Nach dreijährigen Militärdienst setzte er sein Studium an der Juilliard School in New York fort und schloss es mit Hilfe des Mary Garden European Fellowship Award an der damaligen Akademie und heutigen Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Wien bei Sergei Radamsky und Josef Witt ab.

Zentrum seiner sängerischen Laufbahn wurde die Wiener Staatsoper, deren Ensemble er bis 1979 angehörte.

Danach war er in New York, Sydney und Wien als Gesangslehrer und Schauspieler tätig.

Stationen seiner Sängerlaufbahn:
In Europa: Die Opernhäuser in Wien, Mönchen, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Mannheim, Braunschweig, Bern, Klagenfurt etc
In den USA: Santa Fe, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, Houston etc
Internationale Festivals: Moskau, Salzburg, Wien, München, Rio de Janeiro etc
Konzerte, Radio und Fernsehauftritte mit namhaften Orchestern.
ORF:  OTELLO (Cassio), ELGA (Prinz).  NDR: ZAR UND ZIMMERMANN (Chateauneuf).

Stationen seiner Schauspielerlaufbahn
ALL MY CHILDREN (TV Serie), MY ONE AND ONLY (Broadway 1984 -1985),
KISS ME KATE (Chautauqua, NY, 1987),
DIE FLEDERMAUS (Key West, Florida,1986),
Bordeaux, 1987), CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (Key West).


copyright William Blankenship