/ 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 to bring the Sphinx Performance Academy (SPA) at Curtis Summerfest to Philadelphia, in a new collaborative model.

The Sphinx Performance Academy is a full-scholarship intensive chamber music and solo performance program, with a focus on cultural diversity, for string musicians ages 11–17. The curriculum includes private lessons, string quartet coachings, masterclasses, recitals, career enrichment sessions, and mentorship tailored to each student. SPA seeks to actively recruit and engage students from cultural backgrounds that are underrepresented in the field of classical music.


  • 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 of Black or Latinx descent

Application Process

Applications are processed online and admissions decisions are made by the Sphinx Organization. Deadline to apply is February 11, 2020 11:59 PM ESThttps://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.

No registration fee is required.

  1. Full Repertoire List – Solo repertoire and chamber music learned and performed.
  2. Personal Statement – Around 150-200 words expressing why you want to attend the Sphinx Performance Academy.
  3. High Resolution Headshot (Mininum 300 dpi)
  4. Scanned copy of birth certificate or document indicating US citizenship or legal residence
  5. No registration fee is required.

Three separate videos. Videos should not be edited, and the audio/video quality should be clear. iPhone videos are accepted as long as the audio and video are clear.

  1. 3-octave scale in any key
  2. Movement or piece of choice with or without piano accompaniment. The selection should be at least 2-3min in length.
  3. Additional contrasting movement or piece of choice with or without piano accompaniment. The selection should be at least 2-3min in length.

Please choose repertoire that is well-prepared and that shows your highest level of technique and musicality. We recommend that at least 1 of the 2 pieces of choice include a concerto movement; however, any piece, concert etude, 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 4.5 gigabyte (4.5GB) in size.  The following file types are supported: MPEG, MPG, MP4, OGG, MOV, AVI, WMV, M4V, VOB, FLV.

Upon acceptance into the 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.

Sphinx logo

Contact Us

313-877-9100 x708



June 14–27, 2020


Application deadline: February 11, 2020 11:59 PM EST