Sphinx Organization at 25, supporting classical musicians of color

Posted on: April 7, 2022

Sphinx’s touring orchestra, Sphinx Virtuosi. Photo: Kevin Kennedy

“The old way of thinking about classical music may be changing,” writes Sheila Regan in Tuesday’s (4/5) MinnPost (Minneapolis). “Once an art form that celebrated the musical genius of mostly white men, performed by orchestras … for a primarily white audience, things are slowly starting to shift….. Look at the legwork put in by organizations [such as] the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization. For 25 years, Sphinx has had a mission of ‘transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.’ … The organization started with the Sphinx Competition…. Sphinx began putting instruments in the hands of young people [and] built programs around professional development, opportunities and arts leadership for musicians of color…. Sphinx’s touring orchestra, Sphinx Virtuosi, will be performing [in] St. Paul on Sunday…. Sunday’s performance includes work by … Samuel Coleridge-Taylor … Florence Price [and] Jessie Montgomery, an alumnus of Sphinx, [and] Xavier Foley along with a solo cello piece by Spanish composer Andrea Casarrubios. A number of Latin American composers will be featured in the program … ‘The idea is to uplift, to educate, to inspire audiences, … but also spread the good word that here’s really excellent music that can enrich … classical music,’ ” said Sphinx’s president and artistic director, Afa Dworkin.