The NAMM Foundation Grantee Spotlight: Sphinx Performance Academy

Elizabeth Dale

In Summer 2019 The NAMM Foundation announced grants for 28 music-making organizations with funds totaling $675,000. These organizations can be found throughout the United States and include seven international efforts. One grantee included in this diverse lineup is the Sphinx Performance Academy (SPA) which was founded in 1997 by Aaron P. Dworkin with the goal of “addressing the underrepresentation of people of color in classical music.”

The Sphinx Organization-A NAMM Foundation Grantee- Transforms Lives Through Diversity in the Arts

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The NAMM Foundation’s annual grant program began in 1994 and has since donated over $18 million to support “domestic and international music education programs, scientific research, advocacy, and public service programs related to music-making,” which are funded by NAMM and its 10,400 member companies found throughout the world.

  • Sphinx Performance Academy
  • Sphinx Performance Academy
  • SPA

SPA provides “a full scholarship summer chamber music and solo performance program designed for string players, age 11-17.” Primarily focused on providing music education and assistance to Black and Latino students and consists of four core programs: Education and Access, Artist Development, Performing Artists, and Arts Leadership.

Afa Dworkin, SPA President and Artistic Director, is leading the program which accounts for more than 100,000 students and artists participants, and reaches audiences of over 2 million annually. Upon reflecting on the partnership with The NAMM Foundation Dworkin stated, “We are so grateful to our partners, including The NAMM Foundation, for believing in the importance and urgency of our mission and the great potential of arts to transform our society.”

For more information and to get involved with SPA visit or follow their story on Facebook @sphinxorganization, or on Twitter and Instagram @sphinxOrg.