Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Detroit Free Press: Sphinx Symphony backs minority musicians

January 20, 2008



Like almost all professional black and Latino classical musicians, violist John Madison rarely saw anyone who looked like him when he was playing in youth orchestras in his native Grand Rapids or studying music at the University of Michigan. So when he first played in the all-black and Latino Sphinx Symphony, he was shocked to share the stage with 50 kindred souls.

"It was an emotional and profound experience for many of us," says Madison, principal violist of the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.

"Most of us hadn't shared that experience before. You could look at someone and you didn't have to say anything. You knew they were probably the only black kid in their youth orchestra too. And here we were sharing the same thrill."

The 11th annual Sphinx Competition for young minority string players returns to southeastern Michigan this week, culminating with Sunday's finals concert at Orchestra Hall. Though the spotlight falls primarily on the 18 semifinalists in junior and senior divisions, the Sphinx Symphony remains a pillar of the event and a powerful symbol of founder Aaron Dworkin's vision to expand opportunities for minorities in classical music. Full article

[Aaron P. Dworkin is profiled at]

Sphinx+Competition" rel="tag">Sphinx Competition
Aaron+Dworkin" rel="tag">Aaron Dworkin
Sphinx+Symphony" rel="tag">Sphinx Symphony
Black+Musicians" rel="tag">Black Musicians
Latino+Musicians" rel="tag">Latino Musicians
Black+History" rel="tag">Black History

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