The Hermitage Artist Retreat, along with its partner the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS), recently presented the Hermitage Prize to Phillip Sink, a top composition student during the Composers’ Showcase in Aspen

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The Hermitage Artist Retreat, along with its partner the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS), recently presented the Hermitage Prize to Phillip Sink, a top composition student during the Composers’ Showcase in Aspen. Sink was selected for summer work created during his fellowship at AMFS, as well as his experience to date and faith in future work. A prestigious jury of composers, which included AMFS Music Director Robert Spano, AMFS President and President and CEO Alan Fletcher and AMFS Composers-in-Residence Sydney Hodkinson, Christopher Rouse, Steven Stucky and George Tsontakis, chose Sink. The Prize consists of a six-week residency at the prestigious, invitation-only Hermitage Artist Retreat, as well as a $1000 stipend to cover expenses.

“At first glance, AMFS and the Hermitage might appear as two opposites, one being so large in stature and the other so small,” remarked Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage. “More importantly is what we do share: world class artists, who come to work at our venues. This is what makes our partnership a perfect melding of arts organizations.”

Phillip Sink received his bachelor’s degrees in music composition/theory and music education from Appalachian State University in 2004. In 2012, he earned master’s degrees in music composition and music theory pedagogy from Michigan State University where he served as a graduate assistant in music theory. Phillip is currently a fellow at the Jacobs School of Music where he is pursuing a doctoral degree (DM) in music composition with minors in electronic music and music theory.

Phillip’s music has been performed in the U.S. and Europe and at many conferences and festivals including: 2015 Aspen Music Festival, 2015 Art and Science Days, Bourges, France; 2015 SEAMUS conference, 2015 N_SEME, 2014 Electroacoustic Barn Dance, 2012 World Saxophone Congress and 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) national conference.  Other honors include winning the 2015 Dean’s Prize for chamber music at Indiana University, 2015 Boston New Music Initiative Call for Scores, 2015 Innovox Ensemble’s Call for Scores, 2013 Kuttner String Quartet Composition Competition and the 2013 NOTUS Prize.

Winning the Hermitage Prize is an incredible gift and I am truly grateful for this opportunity,” replied Sink. “Going to an artist retreat will be a new experience for me. I look forward to working intensely in a creative environment alongside artists outside the music sphere and I predict that the interaction with other artists will help me better understand my own creative process.”

President Alan Fletcher remarked that an artist community was a great place to get major work done, where everyone cares about the work and wants to help, confirming Sink’s thoughts. These sentiments were reiterated by Music Director Robert Spano, who is also a Hermitage Fellow.

When Bruce talked to me about the Hermitage Prize, I was thrilled because it is such a meaningful place for me,” Spano said. “Living with and interacting with poets, painters and other artists influences your work. As artists, their input is very special and one that cannot be overstated. The Hermitage is small and intimate but the impact is large. It’s a very special experience and one, we all feel, will benefit Phil as he moves forward in his career.”

For more information about the Hermitage Prize or the Hermitage Artist Retreat, visit the website at

About the Hermitage Artist Retreat: The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among three disciplines: visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at

About the Aspen Music Festival and School:
The Aspen Music Festival and School is the United States’ premier classical music festival, presenting more than 300 musical events during its eight-week summer season in Aspen. The institution draws top classical musicians from around the world, including 630 students, 130 faculty, and 60 guest artists, to this Colorado mountain retreat for an unparalleled combination of performances and music education.

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