21 musicians across two categories have been selected to take part in the competition next year

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All 21 semi-finalists of the 26th annual Sphinx Competition

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21 young string players have been announced as the semi-finalists in the 26th annual Sphinx Competition, taking place in Detroit from 25 to 28 January 2023.

These semi-finalists will compete for a share of prizes worth nearly $100,000. First prize in the senior division is the Robert Fredrick Smith Prize, which provides $50,000 of support to young musicians by providing access to professional development, alongside solo appearances with major orchestras. The junior division winner will receive $10,000, solo appearances with major orchestras and a nationally-broadcast radio appearance on From the Top: a non-profit organistation specialising in promoting young classical musicians. 

The semi-finalists are: 

Junior Division (aged 17 and under)

Brandon Leonard, cello 

Alette Williams, 13, violin, 

Samuel Garcia, violin

Devin O’Brien, double bass

Vincent Garcia-Hettinger, cello 

Noah Carr, violin

Anthony Dorsey, violin

Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, 16, cello 

Quincy Eby, viola

Gabriela Salvador Riera, 15, violin

William Miguel Johnson, cello 


Senior Division (18 and above)

Njioma Chinyere Grevious, violin

Nathaniel De La Cruz, double bass

Andres Sanchez, cello

Dillon Scott, viola

Aaron Olguin, double bass

Luiz Fernando Venturelli, cello

Harper Randolph, viola

Ramón Carrero-Martínez, viola

Alexandra Switala, violin

Thierry de Lucas Neves, violin

The 2023 Sphinx Competition Jury includes cellists Zuill Bailey and Patrice Jackson; double bassist Joseph Conyers; violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez; violinist Jennifer Koh; vice president of University Musical Society Michael J. Kondziolka and CEO of Detroit Symphony Orchestra Erik Rönmark.

The competition is hosted by the Sphinx Organization, a social justice organisation ’dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts’. The competition began in 1997 for young Black and Latinx string players and over its 25 year history has grown from to encompass all aspects of musical development including Sphinx Virtuosi, Sphinx Overture and Sphinx Connect: an annual global networking even where musicians, industry leaders, educators and funders come together to promote diverity and inclusion in classical music. 

This year Sphinx Connect will run alongside the competition giving semi-finalists a chance to connect and be mentored by established musicians. Semi-finalist Njioma Chinyere Grevious said: ’I’m excited to attend the Sphinx Connect because every since I was a young kid in Boston’s Project Step programme I’ve always admired everything Sphinx does to help young musicians of colour achieve.’