Sphinx going strong into 14th annual competition

Posted on: February 3, 2011

In Thursday’s (2/3) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker writes, “Started on a shoestring in 1996 by MacArthur Fellowship winner Aaron Dworkin, the Sphinx Organization in Detroit has grown into one of the great success stories in classical music. It is best known for the annual Sphinx Competition for black and Latino string players, whose 14th edition culminates with Sunday’s finals concert featuring conductor Michael Morgan, the all-black and Latino Sphinx Symphony, Catalyst Quartet and the slate of competitors. But beyond the competition, which has awarded more than $1 million in prizes and scholarships since 1998 and performance opportunities with top American orchestra, Sphinx oversees an empire of education, residency programs, camps, an instrument fund, touring ensembles, commissioning program and more. … The numbers show that minorities make up less than 5% of musicians in American orchestras, but Sphinx is having an effect. Though the average age of former laureates is 25, six Sphinx alums have won jobs with major orchestras, most recently Joseph Conyers, assistant principal bass with the Philadelphia Orchestra. … The Senior Division’s Finals Concert is at 2 p.m. Sunday. Morgan, music director of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, leads the Sphinx Symphony composed of professionals from around the country. The program includes Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4, a Sphinx-led commission.”

Posted February 3, 2011