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Young Detroit musicians compete for $10,000 prize in Sphinx competition


Area singers and instrumentalists have the chance to showcase their talent, earn a chance to appear on Detroit Public Television and win a huge cash prize. The deadline for entry into this year’s “Sphinx Stars: Detroit” competition has been extended to Feb.1, so young people still have some time to hone their skills and get ready for the spotlight and maybe walk away with the $10,000 top prize.

All musical backgrounds are welcome, according to organizers – whether classically trained or more of a homegrown stars-in-the-making. As long as they pay the $15 fee and submit a three- to five-minute audition video or make other live audition arrangements by the deadline, they can be considered. Young people, 18 years old and under from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw Counties are eligible to enter. For information on how to apply click here.

Sphinx Virtuosi Nonet Photo Credit Nan Melville

Sphinx Virtuosi Nonet Photo Credit Nan Melville

“We know metro Detroit is full of talented young people dreaming of a future in music,” said Afa Dworkin, executive and artistic director of Sphinx. “We can’t wait to discover these incredible talents and help share them with our community.”

Many people may be familiar with the Sphinx Organization and their work, since its founding in 1997 by Aaron Dworkin. Its efforts have increased diverse representation in orchestras across the globe. The group is also known for the annual Sphinx Competition and other educational programs.

According to the Sphinx website, the mission is to “transform lives through the power of diversity in the arts.” The competition and other programs help accomplish that.

“Last year we had more than 100 applicants. This year, more than twice that number have entered,” says Margaret Cassetto, director of talent development and community engagement for the Sphinx Organization.

Nine finalists will be selected from all entries to perform live during the Sphinx Stars: Detroit finale, which will be aired in the spring on Detroit Public Television. A panel of top judges led by Grammy-winning recording artist Branford Marsalis will make the final selection.  All of the finalists will receive ongoing performance, mentoring and professional development opportunities with Sphinx.

Caleb Washington

Caleb Washington

Caleb Washington won the competition last year and has enjoyed his time representing Detroit in the spotlight. “I had an opportunity to travel to Colorado and to Washington, D.C. and play in front of the Supreme Court. This has been a really great experience for me.”

Anyone who is unable to prepare a video entry due to lack of access to technology, can contact the Sphinx office to make special audition arrangements.

For tickets to the 17th Annual Sphinx Competition February 19-23, 2014 click here.

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