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Tori Amos to deliver Peabody Conservatory commencement in May

Talk about being a native invader.

The singer-songwriter Tori Amos, who studied piano at the Peabody Preparatory Institute as a child, will deliver the Peabody Conservatory’s commencement address in late May.

Amos will receive the 2019 George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America, the music school announced Tuesday in a news release. Previous recipients have included such famed performers as pianists Leon Fleisher and Andre Watts, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and opera singer Jessye Norman. The Conservatory is part of Johns Hopkins University.

“I am so honored to be receiving the Peabody Medal,” Amos said in the release. “When I look back to my time at Johns Hopkins and then to where I am now, to be receiving this prestigious award is truly overwhelming. The 5-year-old inside of me is skipping with joy and gratitude.”

She will address the graduates at the May 22 ceremony, which will be held in the Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall.

The singer-songwriter received some of her earliest instruction on the piano in Baltimore. Amos, who was born in 1963, attended the Preparatory Institute from 1968 to 1974. The release said she was honored this year because she is “among the most influential solo artists of her generation, known for piano-driven songs written on themes of feminism, family, sexuality, politics, and religion.”

The eight-time Grammy Award nominee made her breakthrough in 1992 with her album “Little Earthquakes.” Seven albums debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200; her 15th album, “Native Invader,” was released in 2017.

She’s also known for her advocacy for women’s and feminist causes. A longtime advocate for victims of sexual assault, Amos was the first spokesperson for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, a crisis hotline for sexual assault victims. Her semi-autobiographical 1991 song “Me and a Gun” is based on the experience of being raped at age 21 in Los Angeles. In recent years it has been adopted as an anthem for the #MeToo movemement, the release said.

The following day, Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic magazine, will deliver Hopkins’ commencement address at the Royal Farms Arena.

mmccauley@baltsun.com

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