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Celebrating diversity in Detroit: 16th annual Sphinx competition

DETROIT — The 16th Annual Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino String Players, presented by the DTE Energy Foundation and hosted by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, will bring 19 of the country’s top young Black and Latino string players to Southeast Michigan. Over the past 16 years, Sphinx artists have made more than 250 solo appearances with orchestras around the country, engaged 100,000 young people in schools and community centers nationwide, and reached five million in broadcast audiences. This year’s guest artist is Jade Simmons, a gifted and versatile pianist and arts ambassador. The Sphinx Competition is made possible with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Sphinx Competition, to be held Feb. 13-17 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in its entirety for the first time, will feature performances, professional development opportunities for all participants. Selected from a national pool of applicants, the 19 semi-finalists will compete for more than $25,000 in prizes, performance opportunities with major orchestras across the country and full-tuition scholarships to leading music institutions. This year’s semi-finalists range in age from 12 to 25, and hail from 12 states. Each year, young Black and Latino string players from around the country audition for the competition, which has awarded more than $1 million in prizes and scholarships since 1998.

Junior Division laureates will compete for first place at the Honors Concert on Feb. 15 at noon in partnership with the University Musical Society. The Senior Division culminates in the Finals Concert Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. Both concerts will be held at Orchestra Hall in Detroit. Both the Honors and Finals Concerts will feature the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anthony Elliott. The all-Black-and-Latino Sphinx Symphony Orchestra brings together renowned professional musicians from around the country.

Tickets to the Finals Concert are available at the Max M. Fisher Music Center box office at or by calling 313.576.5111. Ticket prices range from $10-$25.

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