Gabriel Martins takes $50,000 first prize in senior division while Esme Arias-Kim wins the junior section
Cellist Gabriel Martins won the first prize in the senior division of the Sphinx Competition for young black and Latinx string players. In addition to the $50,000 prize, the 21-year-old will receive performance opportunities with Sphinx Soloist Program Partners and instrument support from Shar Music. Martins is currently a graduate student with Laurence Lesserat the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, US. In 2017 he took the third prize at the same competition.
Second prize and $20,000 went to double bassist Aaron Olguin of Denton, TX. Olguin, who is principal bass at the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, also received the $5,000 Audience Choice Award. Third prize and $10,000 went to Jamaican-American violist Jordan Bak. The 25-year-old from Far Rockaway, NY, holds a masters from the Juilliard School, where he won the 2017 Concerto Competition.
In the junior division, 14-year-old violinist Esme Arias-Kim, from Hoffman Estates, IL, won the $10,000 first prize. She also receives $10,000, performance opportunities with Sphinx Soloist Program Partners and instrument support from Shar Music. Cellist Brandon Leonard placed second and received $5,000, while violinist Sophia Ayer came third and took home $3,000.
The senior division finals took place on Saturday 8 February, with the junior finals finishing the day before. The jury comprised Beverly Kane Baker, Lena Fankhauser, Pamela Frank, Bella Hristova, Charlotte Lee, Joel Krosnick and Tito Muñoz.
All photos Craig Gorkiewic