The winners of this year's Sphinx Competition, which took place place from 26-28 January 2023 in the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in Detroit, have been announced.

First prize of the 2023 Senior Division Finals went to the 23-year-old violinist Njioma Chinyere Grevious (pictured), who received the $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize and a number of solo appearances with major orchestras, as well as the $5,000 Audience Choice Prize.

A graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with Ronald Copes, Grevious was a recipient of the Music Academy of the West Keston-Max Fellowship to study and perform with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2022. She has performed for President and Mrs Obama at the White House and won First Prize for Performance and Interpretation in the 2018 Prix Ravel Chamber Music Competition in France. She is a member of the Abeo Quartet, with whom she has won prizes at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition, Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition and Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

Second Prize of $20,000 went to the Chicago-based violinist Alejandra Switala, while Third Prize of $10,000 went to the Philadelphia-based violist Dillon Scott.

In the Junior Division, First Prize of $10,000 went to the 17-year-old cellist Brandon Leonard, who will also receive multiple solo appearances with major orchestras, and a nationally-broadcast radio appearance on NPR's From the Top.

Originally from Stone Mountain in Georgia, US, Leonard is currently studying with Karen Freer at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program. In 2020 he received second prize in the Sphinx Competition Junior Division.

Second Prize of $5000 was awarded to the 16-year-old Delaware-based violinist Gabriela Salvador Riera, while Third Prize of $3000 went to the 17-year-old Texas-based cellist Vincent Garcia-Hettinger.

Sitting on the jury were Joseph Conyers, Zuill Bailey, Juan-Miguel Hernandez, Patrice Jackson, Jennifer Koh, Michael Kondziolka and Erik Ronmark.

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Sphinx Organisation, which organised the competition, platforms Black and Latinx classical string players from around the world. Previous winners of the competition include Joseph Conyers, Patrice Jackson, Sterling Elliott, Randall Goosby, Tai Murray and Elena Urioste.

Photo: Craig Gorkiewicz


Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.