Monday, July 26, 2021

Sphinx Organization, Inc.: Announcing Recipients of the 2022 Sphinx Medals of Excellence!

Sphinx Organization is proud to announce the three recipients of the 2022 Sphinx Medals of Excellence: pianist Michelle Cann, violinist Randall Goosby, and soprano Karen Slack. 

The Sphinx Medal of Excellence is the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization, the social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts, and comes with a $50,000 career grant. The medal recognizes extraordinary classical musicians of color. Recipients are artists who early in their career demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and an ongoing commitment to leadership and their communities.

Meet the 2022 Recipients

Michelle Cann

"I'm extremely honored to receive the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, and to become part of this esteemed family of change-makers. I've always admired Sphinx's efforts to change the face of classical music, and I'm committed to furthering this mission especially for young pianists of color. With this award, I hope to inspire and motivate new generations of musicians by celebrating and advancing works by great Black composers."

Pianist Michelle Cann made her orchestral debut at age 14 and has since performed as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral soloist around the world. She has appeared at venues including the Barbican and Kennedy Center, and with ensembles including The Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras. Among her specialties is the music of Florence Price, with performance highlights including the New York City and Philadelphia premieres of the composer’s Concerto in One Movement. Ms. Cann studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, where she holds the inaugural Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies.

Randall Goosby

"I am truly grateful for this award and opportunity from the Sphinx Organization, whose indelible influence on my musicianship has brought me to this point in my career. Participating in the Sphinx Competition over a decade ago opened my eyes to the potential for myself and other musicians of color to make our mark on the world of classical music. I hope to continue making classical music ever more accessible to young musicians, especially those of color, and amplifying the work of marginalized creators within this field.”

Violinist Randall Goosby is acclaimed for the sensitivity and intensity of his musicianship, as well as for his determination to make classical music more inclusive and accessible. He made his debut with the Jacksonville Symphony at age nine and, at age 13, performed with the New York Philharmonic in a Young People’s Concert. He is one of the youngest winners of the Sphinx Competition and a recipient of Sphinx’s Isaac Stern Award. His debut album, Roots—a celebration of African American music—was released by Decca Classics in June 2021. A graduate of the Juilliard School, he continues to pursuing an Artist Diploma there under Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho. 

Karen Slack

"What an honor to receive the illustrious Medal of Excellence. To have my work acknowledged by this amazing organization and now to be a part of the Sphinx family is tremendous. In an industry where it can be incredibly difficult to build and then sustain a career, to be recognized by an organization whose mission it is to foster, support, and empower Black and Latinx artists and arts administrators is humbling. I am extremely proud to now have my name aligned with artists, leaders, and advocates that I greatly admire and respect. Thank you to Afa and Aaron Dworkin for your tireless advocacy and commitment to our art form.”

Soprano Karen Slack is hailed for possessing a voice of extraordinary beauty and a seamless legato, garnering critical acclaim in leading operatic roles and on the concert stage. She has starred in productions at the Metropolitan, Lyric (Chicago), Washington National, and San Francisco Operas, among others, and has created roles in new operatic works by Black composers Terence Blanchard and Hannibal Lokumbe. She is Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera and Co-Director of the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, focusing on diversity, equality, and inclusion initiatives in both roles. A former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, she is also a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music.

The 2022 Sphinx Medals of Excellence are generously underwritten by Fund II Foundation and William H. Carson, M.D. 

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