New York, NY
Damien Sneed is a rising star who is widely admired for his range of musical talents and his extraordinary achievements in his burgeoning career. A 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, 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 and R&B. 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 and lecturer, Sneed has worked with jazz, classical, pop and R&B legends such as Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Carlos Santana, Ashford & Simpson, David Sanborn, Lalah Hathaway 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, Kim Burrell and Kierra Sheard. He also served as musical director for season four of Sunday Best, Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) hit gospel singing competition show. In addition, in 2008, he conducted the world premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a 150-voice choir. He has also conducted the Mass in London and on a 16-city U.S. tour. Damien Sneed and international operatic tenor, Lawrence Brownlee collaborated together on the project Spiritual Sketches, which was produced by Sneed and released by his independent label, LeChateau Earl Records. The New York Times’ film and music critic, Stephen Holden, lauded Sneed and Brownlee for their resounding performance, writing that Sneed’s fresh arrangements turned the traditional gospel tunes into “concert art songs” at Brownlee’s Carnegie Hall debut.
Sneed created an independent label, LeChateau Earl Records, with Iona Locke in 2009. Through spiritual, gospel, jazz and other musical genres, LeChateau Earl, which means House of Nobility, is committed to giving artists an opportunity to deliver fresh music capable of inspiring the masses. The label reflects the Sneed’s varied musical interests. It boasts music from critically-acclaimed artists such as Bishop Iona Locke, Damien Sneed, and Lawrence Brownlee (“Spiritual Sketches”); upcoming inspirational music stars such as Tekesha Russell; and two groups assembled and directed by Sneed: the musically versatile Chorale Le Chateau, and the gospel ensemble, the Levites.
Sneed’s other professional affiliations have included The Juilliard School, Jazz at Lincoln, the City University of New York, Nyack College, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, The Boys Choir of Harlem, the Martina Arroyo Foundation, and Yamaha as an endorsed Influential Artist. An acclaimed artist with a global reach Sneed has performed in Europe, Japan, the U.S. Virgin Islands, South America, Africa and over 42 states in the United States. He is a graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts School, and he has studied at some of the finest conservatories and universities, including Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music – Piano Performance; the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University; New York University, where he earned a Master of Music in Music Technology: Scoring for Film and Multimedia; and the Manhattan School of Music. In 2010, he was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Music from the Christian Bible Institute and Seminary.