Friday, October 30, 2009

Sphinx Musicians, Local Students to Visit White House for Classical Music Series

Detroit, MI- For five local music students, next week is filled with classes-- including one at the White House. As a part of the music series, the White House will host students from the Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute at Wayne State University as a part of its forum on Classical Music on November 4, 2009. The Students will also take part in the Classical Music Student Workshop Concert where Mrs. Obama will introduce Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin, renowned cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and acclaimed pianist Awadagin Pratt.

Metro Detroit piano students David Valentine II, Alexandra Halladay, Breanna Lockhart, Jaina Bennett and Lindsay Walker will all attend a class taught by Awadajin Pratt, who was recently a member of the Sphinx Competition Jury earlier this year.

“The Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute has begun its fifth year in partnership with Wayne State University,” said Sphinx Founder and President Aaron Dworkin, “and the tremendous talent and dedication of these local students will undoubtedly shine through as they attend classes with master musicians in our nation’s capital.”

More than a dozen Sphinx alumni will attend, including Competition Alumni Maia Cabeza, Robert Switala, Alexandria Switala, Clayton Penrose-Whitmore, all violinists, who will attend a class with Joshua Bell. In addition, Sphinx musicians will also partake in a class with cellist Alisa Weilerstein including Competition Alumni Anna Maria Litivenko, Gabriel Cabezas and Sphinx Performance Academy students Khristine Raymond and Jordan Boucicaut.

The music series is part of a focus on the arts and arts education and the important role it plays in the development of youth academically and in building self-esteem. The October Music Series focused on a night of Latin music and included performances by Gloria Estefan, Marc Antony, José Feliciano, and Los Lobos.

The Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute at Wayne State University is a tuition free program offering classes to Detroit students in music history, music theory/ear training and instrumental performance. It serves string, woodwind, brass, percussion and piano instrumentalists, ages 11-18, with a focus on middle school students. The Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute is supported by Ford Motor Company Fund, Erb Family Foundation, Bingham Trust, Nation Endowment for the Arts and the City of Detroit. For information, please visit

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