Had an opportunity this afternoon to attend the finals of the Sphinx Competition. It’s my second year at the finals concert of this amazing program, which hopes to change the face — and expand the repertoire — of American orchestras by including more people of color and more music written by African American and Latino composers.
Aaron Dworkin’s idea continues to grow and expand, even in these tough times for cultural groups. You can learn more about Sphinx at www.SphinxMusic.org.
A couple of highlights:
John Sanderson from Indiana returned for the second year as a Senior Laureate, and showed tremendous growth both musically and in stage presence from last year. Yet, for the second year in a row, he left with the third place award.
My personal favorite was Paul Laraia from Boston, who negotiated Bartok with his viola most admirably, but came in second to the crowd’s favorite. Gareth Johnson, who showed a maturity with the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto that captured the jury as well.
But it was 13-year old Randall Goosby from Tennessee who was the show-stopper. He was the winner of the Junior Division, and his mastery of Mozart’s Concerto No. 4 in D Major was spectacular, combined with a charismatic stage presence that had people remarking how cute he was before he ever put bow to string. You can catch a glimpse of his talent in these You Tube videos.