Sunday, February 6, 2011 “'Idea: Detroit' conference is music to Sphinx creator's ears”

[Aaron Dworkin]

February 06, 2011 8:00 PM
By Shawn Wright
“Aaron Dworkin, founder and president of the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, noticed 15 years ago that there was an absence of black and Latino classical musicians. While attending the University of Michigan in his early 20s, Dworkin, a violinist, decided to do something about the racial disparity. He took his idea of creating a classical music competition devoted to placing minority musicians in top orchestras and made it a reality.

“Since Sphinx's founding in 1996, Dworkin has established numerous classical music education programs for minority children, both in Detroit and in other large cities like New York. Sphinx has awarded more than $1 million in prizes and scholarships since 1998. Dworkin will share his thoughts and experiences at the first-ever Idea: Detroit conference March 23, where he will be a speaker, sponsored by Crain's Detroit Business and its New York-based sister publication, Advertising Age.”

"The conference, modeled after Ad Age's Idea conference held for the past five years in Manhattan, will feature 14 speakers talking about a specific product, innovation or trend. In addition to the speakers, Crain's is looking for the next crop of innovative entrepreneurs for its "Big Ideas" contest, to be highlighted during the March 23 conference. "A conference like this cannot only serve as a catalyst to ignite the efforts of those in the region, but also provide visibility to those around the country about the value of investing in Detroit," Dworkin said.

“In tandem with the Idea: Detroit conference, the Big Ideas competition asks entrants to submit their best ideas in the categories of arts and culture, entrepreneurship, education, environment and bringing people to live in Detroit.” “The deadline for submissions is Feb. 25. As of Feb. 4, 50 nominations had already been submitted. Finalists will be notified by March 11 and invited to present at the March 23 conference at the College for Creative Studies' A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design in Detroit. For more information about the event or idea contest, visit

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