Aaron P. Dworkin

Sphinx Organization – USA

Aaron P. Dworkin is the founder of the Sphinx Organization, which gives opportunities and assistance to aspiring Black and Latino musicians and has changed the face of orchestras in the USA.

Aaron P. Dworkin is the Founder and President of Sphinx, a national non-profit organisation. Sphinx’s mission is for classical music to embrace the diversity inherent in the society that it strives to serve.

Sphinx’s key programmes range from an annual series at Carnegie Hall featuring top young musicians of color, to the national Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players, an international convening on diversity in the arts (SphinxCon), 2 summer programmes, along with a year-round grassroots educational program (Sphinx Overture.)

Before 1996 when Sphinx was founded, solo performances in the USA by musicians of colour were rare), there were no Black and Latino symphony orchestras (Sphinx runs two) and black members of America’s largest orchestras accounted for only 1.4% of orchestral players. To date, Sphinx has reached over 100,000 students in 200 schools across America and over two million individuals annually through live and national broadcasts. It has provided $300,000 in quality instruments to young minority musicians, with $2,000,000 in prizes and scholarships administered to Sphinx Competition Semi-Finalists and 260 orchestral performances reaching over 250,000 people. The number of black members of USA orchestras has doubled in major orchestras: in all instances, the member was a Sphinx Alumni, a Sphinx Symphony Orchestra member or the orchestra is a Sphinx partner.

Aaron P. Dworkin, an accomplished acoustic and electric violinist. He was named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, a Member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee and was President Obama’s first appointee to the National Council on the Arts, He is also an author, social entrepreneur, multimedia artist, artist-citizen and an avid youth education advocate and has received extensive national recognition for his many accomplishments.

An interview with Aaron Dworkin


Image credits: Glenn Triest (above)

Related Pages


Daniel Barenboim, RPS Gold Medal 2007: Classical music will not survive unless we change our attitude and make it something that is essential to our lives. Join the RPS if you believe in the future of music.


An early member of the Society, who played in our first season in 1813, was the Afro-European violinist George Polgreen Bridgetower (1778-1860) – the original dedicatee of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata.