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Welcome to the 21st annual Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players presented by DTE Energy Foundation! Here you will find step-by-step instructions on how to submit your application. 

From all entries received, our screening committee of accomplished musicians will select 18 semi-finalists (nine from each age division) to compete in the live semi-final and final rounds of the competition from Jan. 31 - Feb. 4, 2018. All semi-finalists will have invaluable educational and professional development opportunities during the competition. To ensure all participants benefit from these opportunities, semi-finalists are required to attend all competition events listed on the schedule, including workshops and masterclasses. Sphinx will provide all semi-finalists with the services of a collaborative pianist for one rehearsal and the live semi-final round of the competition. All semi-finalists must be prepared to perform from memory all repertoire included on the repertoire list that corresponds to the appropriate age division and instrument. Additional information regarding the semi-final and final rounds of the competition will be provided to all semi-finalists.

Sphinx will provide shared hotel accommodations and meals to all semi-finalists during the competition. Special hotel rates are available for parents, teachers, and other guests of the competition. Semi-finalists are responsible for their own travel to and from the Sphinx Competition.

Registration is now CLOSED.
Application Deadline: Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 @ 11:59pm EST (no late applications will be accepted past the deadline)

Senior Division Prizes (Ages 18 - 30)
1st Place - $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize, solo appearances with major orchestras, performance with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra at the Finals Concert, and a custom-made gold bow by Berg Bows International
2nd Place - $20,000 cash prize, performance with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra at the Finals Concert
3rd Place - $10,000 cash prize, performance with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra at the Finals Concert

Junior Division Prizes (Ages 17 and under)
1st Place - $10,000 cash prize, solo appearances with major orchestras, performances with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra and at Finals Concert, nationally-broadcast radio appearance on From the Top
2nd Place - $5,000 cash prize, performance with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra
3rd Place - $3,000 cash prize, performance with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra

  1. Instrument categories are Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass.
  2. Participants in the Junior Division must not have reached their 18th birthday by February 2, 2018. Participants in the Senior Division must be at least 18 years old but not have reached their 31st birthday by February 4, 2018.
  3. Must be a U.S. resident or have a valid U.S visa at the time of applying and performing during the final rounds of the junior and senior division. For questions about eligibility, please contact
  4. Participants must not have been a 1st Place Winner in their division in any previous Sphinx Competition.
Online Application Requirements
  1. Video audition - Please refer to the audition requirements for the applicable division and instrument
  2. Current biography
  3. Repertoire list
  4. High resolution headshot.  Minimum 300dpi. (Professional photography not required)
  5. $35 Registration Fee.
Audition Video Requirements
  1. Each video file should contain only one piece, with the exception of contrasting Bach Suites, which should be included in a single video file.
  2. Videos must not be edited in any way.
  3. Piano accompaniment is recommended, but not required.
  4. The applicant must remain on screen at all times.
  5. Videos uploaded must be smaller than one gigabyte in size.
  6. Please allow sufficient time to prepare and upload videos.
  7. File Types Supported:
  • AVI (preferred)
  • Quicktime (.mov)
  • MPEG (.mpg, .mpeg)
  • Windows Media (.wmv)
  • Flash Video (.flv, .f4v)
Current Bio, Repertoire List, and High Resolution Headshot Requirements
  1. File Types Supported:
  • PDF (preferred)
  • Microsoft Office (.doc, .ppt, .xls)
  • Microsoft Office 2007: Supported but not recommended (.docx, .pptx, .xlsx)
  • Open Office (.odt, .ott)
  • Images (.jpg, .gif)
  • Other Formats (.html, .xhtml, .txt, .rtf, .latex)

For questions regarding the competition, contact