The Sphinx Performance Academy at Curtis Summerfest 

Curtis Summerfest and the Sphinx Organization will partner in 2018 to bring the Sphinx Performance Academy (SPA), a full-scholarship summer program designed for Black and Latino string players, to Philadelphia, in a new collaborative model.

The Sphinx Performance Academy is a full-scholarship intensive chamber music and solo performance program. The curriculum includes an intensive schedule of private lessons and chamber music in addition to master classes, recitals, career enrichment sessions, and mentorship about navigating the classical music world as a person of color. Faculty includes distinguished Curtis and Sphinx Competition alumni Elena Urioste (Violin ’08) and Melissa White (Violin ’07), Astrid Schween of the Juilliard String Quartet, and members of the Catalyst Quartet.


  • Eligible Instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello
  • Participants must be 11–17 years of age
  • Participants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents in the U.S.
  • Participants must be Black or Latino/a descent

Application Process

Applications are processed online and admissions decisions are made by the Sphinx Organizaion. Start your application now at

All accepted applicants for the Sphinx Performance Academy will receive a full scholarship to the program. Room and board is included at Curtis's Lenfest Hall and each student is responsible for transportation to and from Philadelphia. Limited travel scholarships are available. 

No registration fee is required.

  1. Completed Application Form
  2. Full Repertoire List
  3. Personal Statement – At least 150-200 words expressing why you want to attend the Sphinx Performance Academy.
  4. High Resolution Headshot (Mininum 300 dpi)
  5. Scanned copy of birth certificate or document indicating US citizenship or legal residence

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)

Please note that .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx formats are not entirely supported. Please save your file types as .doc, .ppt or .xls respectively before uploading.

Two separate videos. iPhone videos are accepted as long as the audio and video are clear.

  1. Perform one 3-octave scale on any scale you choose
  2. Perform a piece or movement of your choice with or without piano accompaniment. The selection should be at least 2-3 minutes in length. An etude, piece, or movement of a concerto or sonata will be accepted.

Each video file should contain only one piece. Please allow sufficient time to prepare and upload videos. Videos uploaded must be smaller than one gigabyte (1G) in size. The following file types are supported:

mp4 (preferred)
Quicktime (.mov)
MPEG (.mpg, .mpeg)
Windows Media (.wmv)
Flash Video (.flv, .f4v)

Upon acceptance into the SPA program, participants will be given excerpts from standard quartet repertoire. Students are expected to learn the repertoire and audition on these excerpts and a prepared solo work on orientation day. Upon completion of the auditions, the faculty will then select the chamber ensemble groups. Chamber ensemble placements will be based solely on the participant’s audition.


Sample Daily Schedule (subject to change)

8–9 a.m.                   Breakfast
9 a.m.–12:15 p.m.    Individual Practice and Private Lessons
12:30–1:30 p.m.       Lunch
1:30–2 p.m.              Free Time
2–4 p.m.                   Chamber Music Coachings
4:30–5:20 p.m.         Music Theory, Guest Lectures, Admissions Sessions
5:30–6:30 p.m.         Dinner
7–9 p.m.                   Performances, Masterclasses, Enrichment Sessions



313-877-9100 x708




Dates: Sunday, June 10 – Sunday, June 24, 2018

Application Deadline is Wednesday, April 11, 2018, @ 11:59 pm EST:





I have grown because of Sphinx and will continue to grow propelled by the tremendous support of the Sphinx community. Where I will go is undetermined, but I know I will go far. Sphinx has ensured it.

Gabrielle, past Sphinx Performance Academy participant