Laureates Announced in the 2016 Sphinx Competition

February 9, 2016, 10:45 PM · Congratulations to the winners of the Sphinx Competition in Detroit, Mich.!

The Sphinx Competition for Black and Latino strings players provides an opportunity for young musicians of color to compete under the guidance and mentorship of internationally renowned musicians. Jury members this year included: Aaron Dworkin, Charles Hamlen, Clive Gillinson, Jessie Montgomery, Kirsten Docter, Alexandra Soumm and Timothy Eddy.

Sphinx first place winners 2016
First-place winners: Junior Division violinist Maria Anderson and Senior Division cellist Thomas Mesa

Junior Division Laureates:

Violinist Maria Sanderson started playing violin at age eight and has studied with Mimi Zweig for the past six years. Maria was runner-up in last year’s Bloomington Symphony Orchestra Competition, finalist in the Mauer Competition, placed first in the SE Missouri University Rising Star Competition and placed 3rd in last year’s Sphinx Competition. She has served as Concertmaster of the IU String Academy Chamber Orchestra for several years and has performed as soloist for the IU SA Chamber Orchestra, the SE Missouri State University Orchestra and the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra. She will be performing as soloist for the IU Violin Virtuosi in their Argentina tour this spring.

Senior Division Laureates:

Cellist Thomas Mesa started playing cello at age 11 and is a graduate of The Juilliard School and Northwestern University. He is currently on faculty at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and St. Petersburg International Music Academy and has a private teaching studio in New York City where he currently resides. Earlier this year, he was a semi-finalist at Naumburg International Cello Competition. He is the cellist in St. Petersburg Piano Quartet and has toured with Itzhak Perlman both nationally and internationally.

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February 10, 2016 at 03:16 PM · Wow! First place $50,000 and second place gets, what, a set of steak knives or maybe a toaster?

February 10, 2016 at 05:45 PM · Yes, I was wondering about that too. Also, Thomas Mesa started playing cello at age 11. That is quite old for a professional musician isn't it ?

February 10, 2016 at 07:18 PM · Hi Paul, I've added the other prizes.

Yes, Brian, starting at 11 and having such success is inspirational! It takes great commitment, but it can happen.

February 11, 2016 at 06:49 PM · I think anyone to win a competition like this must be a remarkable musician, regardless of the age at which they started. Biographical information such as this often is quite incomplete. Before reaching any conclusions I think I'd need a more complete picture of his background and experiences.

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