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Camille Thurman, Martin Segal Awards

"I believe in the cultivating influence of the arts. The arts are what make life worth living." - Martin Segal

This past Monday's Martin A. Segal Award ceremony at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall wasn't so much a concert as an event designed to inspire and celebrate the tireless dedication of young artists who have committed themselves to a life in the performing arts. Founded in 1986, the Segal Awards, named after the former Lincoln Center Chariman who died in 2012, have awarded a $7500 grant each year to four artists named by two of Lincoln Center's resident institutions. This year, the awards were expanded so that each of Lincoln Center's resident organizations was able to grant a single award, eleven in all.

Hosted by six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald, there were dancers, an actor, and a filmmaker, all of whom gave heartfelt thanks to friends, family, and colleagues. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the awards went to musicians, each of whom performed live (aside from soprano Julia Bullock, who is currently starring in the English National Opera production of Henry Purcell's The Indian Queen.)

Escher String Quartet
Pianist Shai Wosner gave an emotional, almost spiritual reading of Schubert, while fellow pianist Inon Barnatan - currently the NY Phil's Artist-in-Association - electrified the room with a lightning rendition of Mendelssohn's Rondo capriccioso. The Escher String Quartet, previously unfamiliar to me, blew through the fiery Allegro from Sibelius' (him again) String Quartet in D Minor. And Chinese soprano Ying Fang, a member of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Program, belied her petite stature by filling Alice Tully with her booming, yet elegant voice. 

But the most fun performer of the night had to be vocalist Camille Thurman, who appeared with her regular quartet. This girl's got the whole package: she sings, plays sax, composes, teaches - not to mention has an infectiously ebullient personality. No doubt Thurman is going places - better watch your back, Esperanza

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