Friday, December 25, 2009

'The Quarter Note': '13th Annual Sphinx Competition Semi-Finalists Announced'

[13th Annual Sphinx Competition Semi-Finalists, Photo from "The Quarter Note"]

Sphinx Organization
“The Quarter Note”
Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 2010
“In November, entries poured in from all over the country for the 13th annual Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players presented by DTE Energy Foundation. From the preliminary round, 18 young musicians have been invited to travel to Ann Arbor and Detroit to participate as semi-finalists in the Sphinx Competition. The Competition begins on February 3 and culminates in the Finals Concert on February 7, which will be recorded for broadcast on PBS stations.

“'We had an incredibly talented pool of applicants this year – many new faces as well as some past participants,' said Sphinx Artistic Director and Vice President of Programming Afa Sadykhly. 'We're looking forward to a great week with all these talented musicians.' This year's semi-finalists range in age from 13 to 25, and hail from 14 states. Four of them play cello, eight are violinists, four are violists, and two are bassists.

“The junior division semi-finalists are: Andrew Gonzalez of Chesapeake, VA; Annelle Gregory of San Diego, CA; Randall Goosby of Bartlett, TN; Brendon Elliott of Newport News, VA: Mariana Cottier-Bucco of Norristown, PA; Anna Maria Litvinenko of Miami, FL; Kenneth Alexander Jones-Madrid of Evanston, IL; Juan-Salvador Carrasco of Santa Monica, CA; and Xavier Foley of Marietta, GA.

“The semi-finalists of the senior division are: Victor Sotelo of Chicago, IL; Gareth Johnson of Wellington, FL; Javier Orman of Charleston, SC; Paul Laraia, III of Boston, MA; Britton Riley of Ann Arbor, MI; Nicholas Villalobos of Provo, UT; John Martin Sanderson of Bloomington, IN; Yunior Fernandez of Las Vegas, NV; and Lianna Dugan of Oberlin, OH.

“Every year, Sphinx assembles a distinguished panel of jurors who judge the Competition, provide feedback to all participants, and conduct masterclasses. This year, for the first time, a past Sphinx Competition Laureate will be on the jury panel. Joseph Conyers, a bassist in the Atlanta Symphony and second-place Laureate of the 2004 Sphinx Competition, will join the panel of distinguished jurors. The panel also includes Sanford Allen, the first Black permanent member of the New York Philharmonic and director of the Leef Peeper Concert series; Atar Arad, a violist and professor at Indiana University; cellist Paul Katz who is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music; Jose Serebrier, the Grammy-winning conductor and composer; Joel Smirnoff, violinist and conductor, President of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and first violinist of the Juilliard Quartet; and Nokuthula Ngwenyama, a concert violinist and violist.

“At stake are cash prizes totaling more than $25,000, performance opportunities with orchestras around the country, scholarships to top summer programs and universities, and a recording on the Naxos label.” “For information on tickets to the Finals Concert on February 7 in Detroit, visit us online at”

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