Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sphinx Announces 2017 Medals of Excellence Honorees: Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Ailyn Perez and Eugene Rogers

On March 29, 2017, Sphinx will honor three outstanding artists of color who demonstrate the following qualities: artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and ongoing commitment to leadership.

Kelly Hall-Tompkins
Ailyn Perez
Eugene Rogers

These three artists are the recipients of the 6th 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. 

"The work of these tremendous artists is in perfect resonance with Sphinx's mission.  We are truly honored to celebrate these leaders at a time when social justice and the arts have such a powerful connection!" said Sphinx President, Afa S. Dworkin.

Acclaimed by the New York Times as "the versatile violinist who makes the music come alive" and for her "tonal mastery" (BBC Music Magazine), violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins has a dynamic career as a soloist and chamber musician. Featured as the, "Fiddler"/ violin soloist, for the Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof," The New York Times hailed Ms. Hall-Tompkins in a feature article as holding the title role, together with dancer Jesse Kovarsky. Ms. Hall-Tompkins has been the featured subject on NBC's Today Show with Harry Smith, WWFM radio and Strings Magazine among numerous other major press outlets for her role in Fiddler.  
Winner of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize, she has appeared as a soloist with some of the nation's top orchestras and has also performed recitals around the world including Carnegie Hall. Ms. Hall-Tompkins' recent video recording, "Imagination," has achieved over 1 Million views on You Tube and was featured by Chamber Music America and in Strings Magazine. She is also the founder and President of Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul, which has brought over 80 chamber music performances to New York City and Los Angeles homeless shelters and been featured in the New York Times.

Hailed by the New York Times as "a beautiful woman who commands the stage" and "a major soprano," Ailyn Pérez is increasingly in demand at leading international venues. Recent honours include The Metropolitan Opera's 2016 Beverly Sills Award, the 15th annual Plácido Domingo Award, and the 2012 Richard Tucker Award (thereby becoming the only Hispanic recipient in the award's 35-year history).
Ms. Pérez' 2016-17 season includes return engagements at The Met (Mimì / La bohème), Staatsoper Berlin (Violetta / La Traviata), and at the Teatro alla Scala as Violetta and Mimì. She also debuts as Giulietta (I Capuleti e I Montecchi) at Opera di Oviedo, and presents recitals for the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, Malta's Three Palaces Festival, and Wolf Trap Foundation USA.
Ailyn Pérez is a graduate of Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts and Indiana University. Her numerous accolades include the George London Foundation's Leonie Rysanek Award, Shoshana Foundation Career Grant (2007), 2nd place in the 2006 Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, and honors from the Loren L. Zachary Foundation, Opera Index, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. She is a proud Advisory Board member for Time In, an acclaimed arts education and outreach initiative based in New York City.

Recognized as a leading conductor, pedagogue and lecturer, Eugene Rogers has appeared throughout the United States and abroad. His passionate work dealing with issues of social justice and music was featured in the Michigan Media documentary Love, Life and Loss and in articles of the Detroit Free Press, the Miami Herald and Chorus America. Rogers is currently an associate professor of conducting and the associate director of choirs at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and recently began his post as the first National Chair of the American Choral Directors Association Diversity Initiatives Standing Committee. 

In 2014 the Naxos recording of Milhaud's monumental L'Orestie d'Eschyle, on which Rogers served as a chorus master, was nominated for a 2015 GRAMMY® Award (Best Opera Recording) and in 2015, Rogers conducted the Michigan Men's Glee Club in performances at the ACDA National Convention in Salt Lake City. An advocate of new music and emerging composers, Mark Foster Publishing (Hal Leonard) began the Eugene Rogers Choral Series, which features music of contemporary classical and folk music traditions. His upcoming appearances include British Columbia, China, South Africa, Madrid, Portugal, Singapore, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Michigan.

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