Saturday, March 9, 2013

Jade Simmons, Gabriela Lena Frank and Stanford Thompson Receive Sphinx Medals of Excellence March 20, 2013

Sphinx to Honor Rising Stars with
Sphinx Medals of Excellence
March 20, 2013

On March 20, for the second time in its history, Sphinx will honor three emerging leaders who demonstrate the following qualities: artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and great potential for leadership:

Jade Simmons, Gabriela Lena Frank and Stanford Thompson

The three are the recipients of the second annual Sphinx Medals of Excellence. The recipients will be honored at a black-tie dinner in Washington D.C. and the awards also carry a $5,000 honorarium to further these burgeoning careers.

“The incredible success that Jade, Gabriela and Stanford have already achieved is a clear indication that diversity and artistic excellence play important roles in classical music and in our communities,” said Sphinx Founder and President,
Aaron P. Dworkin.

About the 2013 Sphinx Medal of Excellence Honorees

Jade Simmons, Piano

Always on display is a powerful combination of passion and innovation that easily makes Jade Simmons one of the most exciting and versatile artists on the scene today. For her work on and away from the stage, Essence magazine featured Jade alongside First Lady Michelle Obama and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas as a part of their Style & Substance List. Additionally, she has been recognized by Symphony Magazine,  Ebony magazine, named Houston’s Best Arts Ambassador and affectionately labeled Classical Music's "No.1 Maverick" by arts journalist/music critic Greg Sandow.

Gabriela Lena Frank, Composer

Born in Berkeley, California to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Gabriela Lena Frank explores her heritage most ardently through her musical compositions. These have been described by critics as “luminous... bursting with fresh originality” (Los Angeles Times), “crafted with unselfconscious mastery” (Washington Post), and “brilliant” (Chicago Tribune). She has travelled extensively throughout South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin-American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own. With Latin Grammy and Grammy wins and nominations as both composer and pianist, Frank is regularly commissioned and performed by artists such as Yo Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, The King's Singers, and the Kronos Quartet, as well as the major orchestras of the US including those of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Atlanta. 

Stanford Thompson, Trumpet Player, 
Music Educator and Arts Entrepreneur

Stanford Thompson is a musician and educator who is passionate about using music for social action and serves as the CEO for the El Sistema-inspired program, Play On, Philly! As a trumpeter, Mr. Thompson has performed and soloed with major orchestras around the world while actively performing chamber music and jazz. For El Sistema-inspired programs he led in Philadelphia, Stanford has secured over $4 million in funding which has lead to the impact of hundreds of children throughout the city. He serves as the chair of the National Alliance of El Sistema Inspired Programs and recognized as one of Philadelphia’s top 76 Creative Connectors. Stanford is a native of Atlanta, GA and holds degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory’s Abreu Fellows Program.

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