Monday, September 10, 2012

Aaron P. Dworkin, Sphinx Organization Founder & President, A National Leader In Arts Education, Born September 11, 1970

[Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership; Aaron P. Dworkin, author; Aquarius Press, publisher (2011)]

Shortly after the launch in 2000 of the website which came to be known as, we realized that our list of Composers of African Descent needed to be accompanied by a list of Musicians of African Descent. Most are instrumentalists or conductors, but one person honored with a page at the website was Aaron P. Dworkin, born September 11, 1970. We are proud to wish him a Happy Birthday!  Aaron stood out a decade ago because he had recently founded the Sphinx Organization to provide opportunities to young Black and Latino string players. The genius of his concept was reflected by the fact that the Sphinx Organization became a national institution virtually overnight, a point of entry allowing young string musicians of color a chance to hone their skills and participate in their chosen field of classical music.

In September 2011 we were proud to tell our readers of the publication of Aaron Dworkin's memoir:
Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership

The book was published by Aquarius Press:

Aaron P. Dworkin also has a personal website,, which describes him as a Social Entrepreneur, Author, Visual & Performance Artist, MacArthur Fellow.” Here are a few brief excerpts from his extremely impressive profile:

Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, a former member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee and President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, Aaron P. Dworkin is the Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music.”
He is the recipient of Harvard University’s Vosgerchian Teaching Award, National Governors Association 2005 Distinguished Service to State Government Award, Detroit Symphony’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003 Michiganian of the Year, Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Who’s Who Awards, BET’s History Makers in the Making Award, AT&T Excellence in Education Award, University of Michigan’s African-American Alumni Council’s 5 Under 10 Award, "Entrepreneur Of The Year" award by the National Black MBA Association-Detroit Chapter, and Interlochen Arts Academy’s 2003 Path of Inspiration Award. He was also chosen as Angel in Adoption, Senator Levin’s 2011 Congressional Coalition on Adoption.

Mr. Dworkin authored an autobiographical poetry collection entitled They Said I Wasn’t Really Black as well as a children’s book entitled The 1st Adventure of Chilli Pepperz. His writings have been featured in Symphony Magazine,, Andante, an on-line music industry magazine and others. He has contributed to the first English edition of Superior Bowing Technique, a treatise by legendary violinist Lucien Capet, and authored the foreword to William Grant Still’s Violin Collection published by WGS Music. Mr. Dworkin founded and served as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Bard, a literary magazine with a readership of over 40,000 throughout southeast Michigan.

He has produced and recorded two CDs entitled Ebony Rhythm and Bar-Talk, in addition to and producing and directing the independent film entitled Deliberation. He has also transcribed works for electric strings and developed Electric String 201, a college-level preparatory course in electric string performance.

An accomplished electric and acoustic violinist, Mr. Dworkin received his Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. He attended the Peabody Institute, the Philadelphia New School and the Interlochen Arts Academy, studying with Vladimir Graffman, Berl Senofsky, Jascha Brodsky, John Eaken, Renata Knific, Donald Hopkins and Stephen Shipps.

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