musician and arts advocate AARON P. DWORKIN
March 11, 2011
Aaron P. Dworkin, Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, which focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music performance and appreciation, will discuss “Breaking the Sound Barrier: The Sphinx Organization and Classical Music.” SPHINX
Dworkin will address the lack of diversity that exists in the classical music field in America. As part of this analysis, he will share statistics from orchestras, music schools and youth orchestras that lay the foundation for his work building greater representation of Blacks and Latinos in the industry. He also covers the issues facing minority composers and the obstacles to greater visibility of their historical contributions to the classical music repertory as well as current commissions.
In addition, Dworkin will provide an overview of the Sphinx Organization and the impact of its programs including their Preparatory Music Institute in Detroit, Performance Academy in Boston, Artist Series at Carnegie Hall, various educational programs in schools around the country and the flagship program of the organization, the Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino musicians. Dworkin will also share a brief video on the organization that includes clips of several of its ensembles, featuring the Sphinx Symphony, Sphinx Chamber Orchestra and the Harlem Quartet.
Dworkin represents diversity himself with a family background that is White, Black, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish and Catholic. He will also share his personal story including his adoption, beginnings on the violin at the age of five and his various life experiences that ultimately led him to founding the Sphinx Organization while still a student at the University of Michigan.
An accomplished electric and acoustic violinist, Dworkin received his Bachelors and Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. He previously attended the Peabody Institute, the Philadelphia New School and the Interlochen Arts Academy and has studied with Vladimir Graffman, Berl Senofsky, Jascha Brodsky, John Eaken, Renata Knific, Donald Hopkins and Stephen Shipps. Additionally, Dworkin studied piano with Robert Alexander Böhnke in Tübingen, Germany. Awarded a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship and a member of President Barak Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee, Dworkin is this year’s recipient of Harvard University’s Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award, which honors a nationally recognized educator and is administered by the Office for the Arts at Harvard. Dworkin is the eleventh recipient of the Vosgerchian Award, which was established by Professor and Mrs. Ray A. Goldberg and the Max Goldberg Foundation in order to perpetuate the values and teaching skills represented by the late Professor Vosgerchian who, at her retirement from Harvard University in 1990, was the Walter W. Naumberg Professor of Music Emerita in the Department of Music.