The annual Detroit contest, including senior and junior divisions, is open to black and Latino US string players


Thomas Mesa (pictured, left) has won the senior division first prize, worth $50,000, at the 19th Sphinx Competition in Detroit, Michigan.

The 25-year-old Cuban-American cellist is a member of the St Petersburg Piano Quartet, and has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician. A teacher at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and at the St Petersburg International Music Academy, he is currently studying for a doctorate of musical arts at the Manhattan School of Music, having graduated from The Juilliard School in 2012 and Northwestern University in 2014.

Senior division second prize, worth $20,000, was awarded to 20-year-old violinist Annelle Gregory, while third prize went to 21-year-old cellist Guilherme Nardelli Monegatto.

In the junior division, first prize, worth $10,000, went to 16-year-old violinist Maria Sanderson, second prize to 13-year-old cellist Ifetayo Ali and third prize to 17-year-old bassist Nicholas Arredondo.

Held annually, the Sphinx Competition is open to junior high, high school, and college-age black and Latino string players residing in the US, with the aim of developing classical music talent in the black and Latino communities.

Winner of the 2015 competition was 19-year-old violinist Eduardo Ríos, while the 2014 competition was won by 19-year-old double bassist Xavier Foley.

Photo: Thomas Mesa, Annelle Gregory and Guilherme Nardello Monegatto