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.”