Wednesday, June 25, 2008 Aaron Dworkin is “Bringing Diversity to the World of Classical Music”

[Diverse: Diversifying the World of Classical Music, Sphinx Organization allows minority musicians to showcase talent]

Bringing Diversity to the World of Classical Music
by Carla DeFord
Jun 26, 2008, 14:42
"The Sphinx Organization provides opportunities for young musicians of color to showcase their talents. As a young Black violinist growing up on the East Coast, it did not escape Aaron Dworkin that no performers and very few audience members at classical music concerts looked like him. So as a 25-year-old graduate student in music at the University of Michigan, he had an idea that could help bring diversity to the world of classical music: a competition that would attract the most gifted and accomplished young minority string players in the country.

"Dworkin's brainchild has since become the Sphinx Organization, which in addition to sponsoring its unique competition has distributed over $1 million in prize money and scholarships to promising classical musicians of color since its founding in 1996. Today, with an annual budget of about $3 million, Sphinx also offers a wide range of professional development and music-education programs to performers and audiences in the Detroit area and beyond.

"This small empire sprang from the Sphinx Competition, which is now entering its 12th year and will be held again Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2009, in Detroit. Most of the applicants are encouraged to participate in the competition by their music teachers, who are aware of its reputation and prestige. Once audition recordings of the competitors have been received, a screening committee chooses a group of semifinalists in the junior and senior divisions. From this group, three finalists (laureates) are chosen by a panel of distinguished judges." Full Post [Aaron P. Dworkin (b. 1970), Founder/President of the Sphinx Organization, is profiled at]

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