COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A Columbus State University music student has won first place in the 2021 Sphinx Competition senior division.
Samuel Vargas, a violinist, is an international student from Venezuela and a student of William B. And Sue Marie Turner distinguished faculty chair Sergiu Schwartz at CSU Schwob School of Music. Vargas won the $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize plus invitations to make a number of significant solo debuts” in the future with multiple major orchestras, according to the university.
The Sphinx Competition is a national contest that offers young Black and Latinx classical string players an opportunity to compete under the guidance of internationally renowned judges and receive mentorship from established professionals. Competitors also perform with these professionals as part of the competition.
“These are the artists and leaders who are shaping the present and the future of the classical music industry,” Sphinx Organization President and Artistic Director Afa Dworkin told The Violin Channel. “What a privilege we have to support their careers and build a network so that they may innovate and collaborate.”
Vargas represented CSU and the Schwob School of Music in the competition and took first place in the senior division. Other participants in the competition included musicians from The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Rice University, Boston University, and others, according to university officials.