Sarah Caldwell, opera conductor and founding director of the Opera Company of Boston, has died aged 82.
Bill and Hillary Clinton honoured Sarah Caldwell in 1997
Caldwell staged and conducted 100 operas in more than 30 years in charge of the Boston company.
She became the first female conductor at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1975 and Time magazine once called her "the best opera director" in the US.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton presented her with the National Medal of the Arts.
He praised her for bringing "difficult yet beautiful operas to the stage" and developing new audiences for opera.
She died of heart failure on Thursday at Maine Medical Center, according to Jim Morgan, her friend and former manager of the Opera Company of Boston.