Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sphinx Announces 2015 Recipients of Medals of Excellence and $50,000 Artist Grant: Danielle Belen, Janai Brugger & Demarre McGill

Danielle Belen

Janai Brugger

Demarre McGill

On March 18, 2015, Sphinx will honor three outstanding artists of color who demonstrate the following qualities: artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and great potential for leadership.

Danielle Belen, Janai Brugger
and Demarre McGill

These three artists are the recipients of the 4th annual Sphinx Medals of Excellence. The awards will be bestowed at the official Sphinx Medals of Excellence luncheon and honorees will be celebrated at a black-tie private dinner in Washington, D.C. The three Medalists will also each receive a $50,000 artist grant for their career development. 
"We are proud to celebrate the incredible successes of Danielle, Janai and Demarre! Their contributions have been transformational to our art form, as well as our communities," said Sphinx Founder and President, Aaron P. Dworkin. 
Newly appointed to the full-time Violin Faculty at the University of Michigan School in Ann Arbor, Danielle Belen is already making a name for herself as a seasoned pedagogue with a strong studio of young artists.  She also maintains a small class of students at The Colburn School in Los Angeles.  Winner of the 2008 Sphinx Competition, Ms. Belen has appeared as a soloist with major symphonies across the U.S., including the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco Symphonies, the Boston Pops, and the Florida and Cleveland Orchestras. Zachary Lewis from the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote "Violinist Danielle Belen... captivated every ear with an assured, impassioned performance of Ravel's "Tzigane," knocking off the daunting showpiece as if it were a trifle."  Ms Belen is the Artistic Director and founder of Center Stage Strings, a summer camp and festival in Three Rivers, CA, which attracts gifted young string players ages 9-19 years old from across the country. Ms Belen plays on a 1709 Allesandro Gagliano on generous loan from The Mandell Collection of Southern California.
Janai Brugger, Soprano

A former winner of Placido Domingo's prestigious Operalia vocal competition and of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, American soprano, Janai Brugger, begins the 2013-14 season as Liu Turandot at Hawaii Opera Theatre.  She returns to Los Angeles Opera to make her debut as Pamina Die Zauberflote and in the Spring she continues to the Metropolitan Opera to sing the role of Helena The Enchanted Island.  Later in Denver Miss Brugger makes her debut as Michaela Carmen with Opera Colorado.  Last season the artist's appearances included Liu at the Metropolitan Opera in the Zefferelli production of Turandot;  she travelled to Prague to appear in concert at the Peter Dvorsky Festival, she appeared in the May Festival with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the baton of James Conlon and joined Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel as High Priestess Aida in performances at the Hollywood Bowl. 

Demarre McGill, Flute

Demarre McGill was named Principal Flutist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra beginning in September, 2013.  Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Demarre McGill is one of the most entertaining and sought-after flutists of his generation. Mr. McGill has performed with numerous orchestral and chamber ensembles around the world. Concerto solos include performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Baltimore Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony, among others. In addition to his performance schedule, Mr. McGill is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Art of Élan, a chamber music organization in San Diego that aims to expose new audiences to classical music. 

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