/ Summerfest / Sphinx Performance Academy: 32 full-scholarship Black or Latinx string players

The Sphinx Performance Academy at Curtis Summerfest 

Curtis Summerfest and the Sphinx Organization will partner again in 2019 to bring the Sphinx Performance Academy (SPA), a full-scholarship summer program designed for Black and Latinx 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. 


  • 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 Latinx descent

Application Process

Applications are processed online and admissions decisions are made by the Sphinx Organization: https://app.getacceptd.com/sphinxmusic

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. For students flying without an adult parent or guardian, ground transportation is provided to and from the airport. Ground transportation will be provided for students only. Limited travel scholarships are available. 

No registration fee is required.

  1. Completed Application Form
  2. Full Repertoire List
  3. Personal Statement – Around 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

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.
  3. An additional solo piece of choice of contrasting musical style.

Each video file should contain only one piece. Please allow sufficient time to prepare and upload videos. Videos uploaded must be smaller than 4.5 gigabyte (4.5GB) in size. 

Upon acceptance into the SPA program, participants will be sent via email 1-2 excerpts from the standard quartet repertoire. Students will prepare these excerpts and a solo work for an audition on arrival day. Following the placement auditions, students will be assigned chamber music groups and repertoire.


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


Sphinx Performance Academy at Curtis Summerfest is generously supported, in part, by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.



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Contact Us

313-877-9100 x708



Dates: Sunday, June 16 – Saturday, June 30, 2019