Damien Sneed, Conductor/Arranger/Pianist
Damien Sneed is a multi-genre recording artist and a 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence honor, which is presented annually to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music, Sneed has also garnered attention in a wide range of other musical genres, including jazz, gospel, pop, R&B and musical theatre. He has already been featured in the New York Times multiple times for his work in various genres. A pianist, organist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, vocal coach, professor and arts educator, Sneed has worked with legends such as Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Carlos Santana, Ashford & Simpson, David Sanborn, and Kenny Burrell. He has served as music director for GRAMMY® Award-winning gospel artists, including The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Kim Burrell. He also served as musical director for season four of Sunday Best, Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) hit award-winning gospel singing competition show. In May 2015, he was tapped by Tony Award winner, George Faison as the musical director and conductor for the City Parks Foundation’s Central Park’s Summer Stage production of “The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance & Music.” The production included Phylicia Rashad, André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ebony Jo-Ann. He was guest conductor of the USC Symphony Orchestra for the 2016 – 2017 season and will be graduating with his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting from USC in 2018 as a student of Maestro Donald Portnoy. During the 2017 – 2018 season, Sneed will be projects include the following: a Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall debut on October 9, 2017, an upcoming recital tour with Jessye Norman, several performances in Europe, a solo piano recital at Amherst College, a commission to compose a piece for mixed chorus and orchestra from the Washington Performing Arts Society for their Awards Gala and a new commission from the Lyric Opera of Chicago to compose an opera with its world premiere in May 2018.