Sigourney Weaver, Danny Burstein, Laura Osnes and More Will Honor Lincoln Center's 2017 Emerging Artists

Sigourney Weaver, Danny Burstein, Laura Osnes and More Will Honor Lincoln Center's 2017 Emerging Artists

Sigourney Weaver, Danny Burstein, Laura Osnes and More Will Honor Lincoln Center's 2017 Emerging Artists

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts announced today its second class of Emerging Artists, recognizing diverse talents, from a visionary filmmaker to world-class musicians to a singer-songwriter currently starring on Broadway.

Each recipient was nominated by one of Lincoln Center's eleven resident organizations, acknowledging his or her extraordinary talent and budding career.

The 2017 winners are: Calidore String Quartet (Chamber Music Society); filmmaker Dustin Guy Defa (Film Society of Lincoln Center); soprano Kiera Duffy (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts); dancer Joseph Gordon (New York City Ballet); violinist and concertmaster Frank Huang (New York Philharmonic); violinist Paul Huang (The Juilliard School); playwright Michael R. Jackson (Lincoln Center Theater); saxophonist Julian Lee (Jazz at Lincoln Center); singer-songwriter-actress Grace McLean (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts); baritone Yunpeng Wang (The Metropolitan Opera); director, producer, and performer Ben West (The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts); and dancer Andres Zuniga (School of American Ballet).

Two-time Golden Globe winner and Oscar and Tony nominee Sigourney Weaver will host the awards presentation, which will include live and taped performances by the awardees, as well as appearances from Katherine Brown, Danny Burstein, Laura Osnes, and Desmond Richardson, on March 1 at 7:00 pm at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. More information is available at

Several of the honorees will be acknowledged with endowed awards. Both Dustin Guy Defa and Ben West will receive Martin E. Segal Awards, which have recognized two artists of exceptional talent early on in their careers each year for more than three decades. The recipients of THE HUNT Family Awards, given to nominees from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, are Kiera Duffy and Grace McLean. The inaugural Herbert Family Dance Award, awarded by the School of American Ballet, will be given to Andres Zuniga. Each of the awardees will receive $7,500 to be used for career advancement and study.

Peter L. Malkin, Esq. and the Hon. William H. Donaldson, co-chairs of the Emeritus Board of Lincoln Center, expressed how these awards strengthen the mission of Lincoln Center.

"Since its inception, Lincoln Center has been a venue for the greatest artists of our day, and to continue that legacy it's crucial to invest in the artists of tomorrow. The Emerging Artist Awards provide both recognition and funding for the future essential voices of our community, to nurture their talents and support them as they chart their careers," said Mr. Malkin.

Mr. Donaldson added, "The awardees we honor this year follow in the steps of former honorees, such as the great cellist Alisa Weilerstein, renowned choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, and Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras. The members of this class have already contributed great works of music, theater, dance, and film to the Lincoln Center campus and beyond, and we are delighted to help them pursue new projects that will undoubtedly challenge, stimulate, and inspire us."

The Lincoln Center Awards for Emerging Artists continue the legacy of the Martin E. Segal Awards, which were established in 1986 by the Board of Directors of Lincoln Center in honor of the arts leader and former Lincoln Center chairman and his commitment to rising talents. Each year, the Segal Awards are given to two emerging artists, rotated annually among the resident organizations. Over the last 30 years, nearly a quarter of a million dollars has been given to more than 70 remarkable emerging artists associated with Lincoln Center. Past Martin E. Segal Award winners include pianists Jonathan Biss and Shai Wosner; the Brentano, Borromeo, and JACK string quartets; mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung; violinist Augustin Hadelich; director Thomas Kail; dancer Daniel Ulbricht; cellist Alisa Weilerstein; choreographer Christopher Wheeldon; jazz saxophonist Melissa Aldana; composers Jason Robert Brown and Michael John LaChiusa; and conductor Xian Zhang, among many others.

About the 2017 Awardees:

Calidore String Quartet, Chamber Music Society

Heralded for its informed, polished, and passionate performances, the Calidore String Quartet performs in prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, and festivals, including Verbier, Ravinia, and Mostly Mozart. Winner of the 2016 inaugural M-Prize, the largest chamber music prize in the world, the quartet is also a BBC New Generation Artist, member of Chamber Music Society Two, and recipient of the 2016 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. The quartet received top prizes in the Fischoff, Coleman, Chesapeake, Hamburg, and ARD Munich competitions and serves as visiting guest artists at the University of Michigan and the University of Delaware Schools of Music. Violinists Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan, violist Jeremy Berry, and cellist Estelle Choi formed the Calidore String Quartet in 2010 at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music.

Dustin Guy Defa, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Martin E. Segal Award

Dustin Guy Defa's feature film Bad Fever was named one of the best films of 2012 by The New Yorker. His short films Person to Person and Family Nightmare premiered at Sundance and won awards at the Berlinale, SXSW, and HotDocs. In 2015, the Film Society of Lincoln Center presented a week-long theatrical run of his short films. His new feature film, Person to Person, world-premieres at the upcoming 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Kiera Duffy, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Hunt Family Award

American soprano Kiera Duffy is recognized for her gleaming high soprano and insightful musicianship in repertoire that encompasses Mozart, Berg, Ligeti, Bach, Boulez, Handel, and Missy Mazzoli. She has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, and National Symphony Orchestra and has sung with conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel, Pierre Boulez, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, Roberto Abbado, Alan Gilbert, Kristjan Järvi, Andreas Delfs, and Seiji Ozawa. Following her critically acclaimed portrayal of Bess McNeill in the world premiere of Breaking the Waves in Philadelphia and New York, The New York Times proclaimed, "Kiera Duffy's star turn was one of the most riveting operatic performances of the year."

Joseph Gordon, New York City Ballet

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Joseph Gordon began his dance training at the age of five at The Phoenix Dance Academy. He enrolled at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet (NYCB), in the fall of 2006. In August 2011, Mr. Gordon became an apprentice with NYCB, and in July 2012, he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. Since joining NYCB, he has performed featured roles in ballets by George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon. Additionally, he originated featured roles in Benjamin Millepied's Neverwhere, Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and Troy Schumacher's Common Ground. Mr. Gordon was the 2015-16 Janice Levin Dancer Honoree.

Frank Huang, New York Philharmonic

Frank Huang joined the New York Philharmonic as Concertmaster, The Charles E. Culpeper Chair, in September 2015 and made his solo debut with the orchestra as leader and soloist in Vivaldi's The Four Seasons in June 2016. He previously served as concertmaster of the Houston Symphony and first violinist of the Ying Quartet. He won the 2003 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation's Violin Competition and the 2000 Hannover International Violin Competition. Solo engagements have included The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, and NDR Radio Philharmonic orchestras, and the World Premiere of Donald Martino's Sonata for Solo Violin at Alice Tully Hall. He has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, and Caramoor music festivals and toured with Musicians from Marlboro.


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