By Megan Westberg
The Sphinx Organization bestowed its 2019 Sphinx Medals of Excellence on March 20 at first a luncheon, and then a private, black-tie celebratory dinner. The annual program awards three emerging classical artists of color, early in their careers, $50,000 each, and according to the organization, recipients are chosen on the basis of their “artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and ongoing commitment to leadership.” This year, double bassist Joseph H. Conyers was among the winners.
Conyers, a 2004 Sphinx Competition laureate, is assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and an avid chamber musician, active in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He is a Curtis Institute of Music alumnus, and a staunch advocate for music education, serving as music director of the All-City Orchestra in Philadelphia and executive director of Project 440, which “engages, educates and inspires young musicians, providing them with the career and life skills they need to develop into tomorrow’s civic-minded, entrepreneurial leaders.” Conyers is also on faculty at Temple University.
Former string-playing recipients of a Sphinx Medal of Excellence include Tai Murray (2012), Elena Urioste (2012), Danielle Belen (2015), Gabriel Cabezas (2016), Kelly Hall-Tompkins (2017), and Christine Lamprea (2018).