Acclaimed composer, pianist and conductor Damien Sneed is one of three talented musicians to be honored by the prestigious Sphinx foundation as a 2014 Medal of Excellence recipient.
Sphinx annually honors three outstanding artists of color who demonstrate the following qualities: artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and great potential for leadership. Sneed will be recognized along with Carla Dirlikov and Pedrito Martinez at the official Sphinx Medals of Excellence luncheon and a black-tie private dinner in Washington, D.C. Sneed and the other medalists will also each receive a $50,000 artist scholarship for their career development.
Sphinx Founder and President, Aaron P. Dworkin said the organization was “proud to celebrate the incredible successes of Damien, Carla and Pedrito. Their contributions have been transformational to our art form, as well as our communities.”
“Being selected as a recipient of this award totally took me by surprise,” Sneed said. “When one decided to choose a career in the arts, there is no guarantee that the journey will be easy. I have spent years investing in my own vision while supporting the visions of others; so to be recognized by such a prestigious foundation lets me know that preparation, hard work coupled with the blessings of the Lord has caused me to enter this season. This past year has most definitely been a most memorable year as it was filled with mind-blowing opportunities and experiences.”
Sneed has indeed experienced a whirlwind year. The award announcement comes on the heels of international successes, having performed for packed audiences in Madrid with his group The Levites and in London with the iconic Diana Ross. The past twelve months have also given Sneed the successful release of Spiritual Sketches, a collaboration with world renowned operatic tenor Lawrence Brownlee as well as national praise for his role in conducting legendary trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and his own Chorale Le Chateau during a multicity tour for the Abyssinian Mass.
Forthcoming is his latest effort, Broken to Minister, a project spawn from Sneed’s July 2013 LIVE in BALTIMORE recording. The recording features the popular inspirational tune “Broken to Minister,” along with the breakout single “Call Him By His Name.” Not only does the project feature the talents of Sneed and The Levites, it also showcases Bishop Iona E. Locke, Lecresia Campbell, James Ziegler, Ruby Holland Hutchins, Judy Ray Tucker, Tekesha Russell and other special guests.
Already, Sneed has released a promotional three-song EP titled Broken to Minister. The EP is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby. The full album will debut on Sneed’s own LeChateau Earl Records in April.
To celebrate the release of the album and being bestowed the Sphinx Medal, Sneed will launch a multicity educational tour to share his talents with foster and adopted children – a cause close to Sneed’s heart.
“I want to expand more facets of my vision and calling with educational efforts in arts education, being able to give back to the community,” Sneed said.
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