The annual gala raised more than $200,000 in support of the Hermitage’s mission, in addition to $150,000 from the Greenfield Foundation, with special live performances from Tony Award-winning Hermitage Fellow and Broadway star Gavin Creel and Grammy Award-winning cellist Nick Photinos.
April 12, 2022 (Sarasota County, Florida) — The fourteenth annual Hermitage Greenfield Prize (HGP) Dinner on April 10 celebrated composer, multi-instrumentalist, and 2022 HGP winner Angélica Negrón, featuring inspiring performances by Tony Award winner and Hermitage Fellow Gavin Creel, and Grammy Award-winning cellist Nick Photinos. The annual gala raised more than $200,000 in support of the Hermitage’s mission in addition to the Greenfield Foundation’s ongoing annual gift of $150,000. The festive “Celebration of Music” at Michael’s On East was chaired by Sondra Biller and Carole Crosby. Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg served as master of ceremonies and announced that EnsembleNewSRQ will be collaborating with the Hermitage as the presenting partner for Negrón’s commission in Sarasota in 2024, a composition that will be inspired and timed with the setting sun.
The evening opened with a video celebration of Puerto Rico’s musical legacy featuring a number of celebrated Puerto Rican musical artists, including Negrón, followed by a special video documenting fourteen years of Hermitage Greenfield Prize recipients, jurors, and presenting partners. Negrón, who was unable to attend in person because she had two commissioned works opening with the Seattle Symphony during the same weekend, delivered heartfelt and inspiring video messages to the audience. Broadway star Gavin Creel delighted the crowd with an original song from a show he’s been developing at the Hermitage called Walk on Through,a project commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art that straddles the worlds of theater, music, and visual art – much like the Hermitage Greenfield Prize. He also performed songs by the late, great Stephen Sondheim and Jerry Herman, celebrating the impact of the arts in our lives. The warm sounds of Nick Photinos’ cello rendition of Negron’s work “Panorama” filled the room as images of the setting sun and rolling waves from the Hermitage Beach on Manasota Key played in the background. The evening also featured remarks from 2021 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Aleshea Harris and this year’s HGP jury chair and WQXR radio host Terrance McKnight.
“This was truly a night to remember,” said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “It was an honor to celebrate Angélica Negrón and her extraordinary talent, and we can’t wait to introduce her new composition to our Gulf Coast community. It was thrilling to hear live performances from Tony Award Winner Gavin Creel and Grammy Award Winner Nick Photinos at Michael’s On East, along with inspiring remarks from the brilliant Aleshea Harris and Terrance McKnight. We are so grateful to the Greenfield Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and all of our sponsors and donors for their generous support of our mission and the support of new work.”
This year’s HGP events also included a talk with 2018 HGP recipient and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Martyna Majok and her collaborator Caitlin Sullivan; the live premiere of “Ocean Body,” a music and multimedia experience by 2019 HGP recipient Helga Davis and her collaborators Shara Nova and Mark DeChiazza; an artist talk with 2021 HGP recipient and playwright Aleshea Harris; a virtual conversation with 2022 HGP recipient Angélica Negrón; and a panel discussion about artistic license and representation with 2022 HGP Jurors Terrance McKnight and Gary Padmore, and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs.
The Hermitage Greenfield Prize is presented in partnership with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation, who launched this initiative with the Hermitage in 2009. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County served as the lead community sponsor for this year’s festivities.
Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón writes music for accordions, robotic instruments, toys, and electronics as well as for chamber ensembles, orchestras, choirs, and film. Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR), and The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise.” Negrón has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kronos Quartet, loadbang, Prototype Festival, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sō Percussion, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, and the New York Botanical Garden, among others. Her premieres include works for the Seattle Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Project 19, and multiple performances at Big Ears Festival 2022.
Negrón’s intended commission seeks to engage the senses and encourage listeners to resist distractions with a composed work timed with the setting sun and inspired partly by the sun’s low-frequency sounds as captured by scientists. Her composition will feature slowly evolving musical textures, shifting patterns, natural sounds, and changes in scale and dimension that play with the unfolding gradations of light and color on the surrounding land, water, and sky – serving as a gentle reminder to surrender to moments of inspiration.
For information on upcoming Hermitage programs, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
About the Hermitage Greenfield Prize:
The Hermitage Greenfield Prize is a groundbreaking partnership between the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Greenfield Foundation. Rotating between the fields of music, theater, and visual art, this prestigious national prize seeks to bring into the world works of art that will have a significant impact on the broad as well as our artistic culture. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize is awarded annually and includes a Hermitage Fellowship, as well as a $30,000 commission for a new piece of work to be created within a two-year time frame. A residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat on Manasota Key (Sarasota County, Florida), ensures time and space in which to conceive and complete the work. Winners include Angélica Negrón (2022), Aleshea Harris, Theater (2021); Helga Davis, Music (2019); Martyna Majok, Theater (2018); David Burnett, Photography (2017); Coco Fusco, Visual Art (2016); Bobby Previte, Music (2015); Nilo Cruz, Theater (2014); Trenton Doyle Hancock, Visual Art (2013); Vijay Iyer, Music (2012); John Guare, Theater (2011); Sanford Biggers, Visual Art (2010); Craig Lucas, Theater (2009) and Eve Beglarian, Music (2009).
About the Hermitage Artist Retreat:
The Hermitage is a non-profit artist retreat located in Manasota Key, Florida, inviting accomplished artists across multiple disciplines for residencies on its beachfront campus, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Hermitage artists are invited to interact with the local community, reaching thousands of Gulf Coast residents and visitors each year with unique and inspiring programs. Hermitage Fellows have included 14 Pulitzer Prize winners, Poets Laureate, MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellows, and multiple Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar winners and nominees. Works created at this beachside retreat by a diverse group of Hermitage alumni have gone on to renowned theaters, concert halls, and galleries throughout the world. Each year, the Hermitage awards the $30,000 Hermitage Greenfield Prize for a new work of art, the newly announced $35,000 Hermitage Major Theater Award for an original theater commission, and the Aspen Music Festival’s Hermitage Prize in Composition.
For more information, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
The Hermitage is supported by:
Hermitage programs are supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues; and by The State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture (Section 286.25 Florida Statutes), as well as the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.