Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sphinx Honors Rising Stars with Sphinx Medals of Excellence

[From TOP: Anthony McGill, Elena Urioste & Tai Murray]

March 22, 2012
On March 15, Sphinx honored three young musicians whose accomplishments distinguish them among musicians of color. The three were the recipients of the inaugural Sphinx Medals of Excellence. The recipients were honored at a black-tie dinner in Washington D. C. The recipients of the inaugural medals were Anthony McGill, Tai Murray and Elena Urioste. Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer were among the attendees.

The Sphinx Medals of Excellence honor young Black and Latino leaders in classical music who demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and leadership potential. The awards also carry a $5,000 honorarium to further these burgeoning careers.

“The incredible success that Anthony, Tai and Elena have already achieved is a clear indication that diversity and artistic excellence play important roles in classical music,” said Sphinx founder and president, Aaron P. Dworkin.

About the 2012 Sphinx Medal of Excellence Honorees

Anthony McGill
A recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Anthony McGill currently serves as principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Prior to this position, he was associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, directly following studies at the Curtis Institute.

An experienced chamber musician, he has participated at the Marlboro Music Festival, Sarasota Festival, Tanglewood, La Musica Interna tional Chamber Music Festival, Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Menlo, Italy. In 2009, Mr. McGill performed at the 56th presidential inauguration ceremony. Since his solo debut in 1991, he has appeared with the Baltimore and New Jersey Symphonies, and with the Tokyo, Guarneri, and Avalon Quartets, and Opus One. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, and appeared at Lincoln Center as a member of its Chamber Music Society. Mr. McGill also serves as faculty at the Peabody Institute of Music.

Tai Murray
First-place Laureate of the inaugural Sphinx Competition in 1998, Ms. Murray was acclaimed as “superb” by The New York Times. A rising star of her generation increasingly in demand for both recitals and orchestral engagements, she has performed on the stages of Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, Shanghai’s Concert Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Recently, she made her debut with the Houston Symphony and Deutsche Oper am Rhein Orchestra. Other recent debuts include her appearance at the BBC Proms, and performances with the Cincinnati and Dallas symphony orchestras, the Shanghai Symphony, London’s BBC Symphony, the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. A recipient of the distinguished Avery Fisher Career Grant, her upcoming engagements include those in Ireland and Germany, as well as United States. Ms. Murray is represented by Opus 3 Artists.

Elena Urioste
As first-place Laureate in both the junior and senior divisions of the Sphinx Competition, Ms. Urioste debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2004 and has returned as a soloist regularly, earning rave reviews from The New York Times. She has collaborated with acclaimed conductors Sir Mark Elder, Keith Lockhart, Robert Spano, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and Alondra de la Parra, having appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Richmond, San Antonio, and Sarasota symphony orchestras. In Europe, she has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Wurzburg Philharmonic, and Hunga ry’s Orchestra Dohnányi Budafok. Ms. Urioste concertizes internationally and was featured recently in Latina Maga zine as well as Symphony Magazine as one of the emerging artists to watch. Ms. Urioste is represented by Sciolino Artist Management of New York.

[Aaron Dworkin (b. 1970), Founder and President of The Sphinx Organization is profiled at and has a personal website,]

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