About Sphinx > Founder and President
Founder and President
Aaron P. Dworkin
Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, a former member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee, President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts and Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder’s appointee to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Aaron P. Dworkin has been regarded as an esteemed arts leader across party lines. As a highly distinguished social and arts entrepreneur, he is the Founder and President of The Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization that transforms lives through the power of diversity and the arts. Dr. Dworkin serves as Host and Executive Producer of the Dworkin Arts & Creativity Report and founded the Dworkin Foundation where he serves as Chairman of the Board. His memoir titled Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee's Journey to Leadership was released through Aquarius Press.
Dr. Dworkin has been featured in People Magazine, on NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News, CNN, named one of Newsweek’s 15 People Who Make America Great, NPR’s The Story and Performance Today, in addition to articles in GIA Reader, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News and Free Press, Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Emerge and Jet Magazines and many other media outlets. He is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Honorary Membership, Harvard University’s Vosgerchian Teaching Award, National Governors Association 2005 Distinguished Service to State Government Award, Detroit Symphony’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003 Michiganian of the Year, Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Who’s Who Awards, BET’s History Makers in the Making Award, AT&T Excellence in Education Award, National Black MBA’s "Entrepreneur Of The Year.”
A passionate advocate for excellence in music education and diversity in the performing arts, Dr. Dworkin has been a frequent keynote speaker and lecturer at numerous national conferences including the Aspen Ideas Conference, Independent Sector, Dance USA National Conference, The League of American Orchestras, National Association for Schools of Music, National Guild for Community School of the Arts, National Association of Music Merchants, Chautauqua Institution, National Suzuki Association, Americans for the Arts, American String Teachers Association, Ithaca College and the National Association for Negro Musicians. Dr. Dworkin served as commencement speaker at the Curtis Institute of Music, University of Michigan, Longy Conservatory as well as twice for Bowling Green State University. In May of 2013, the renowned Curtis Institute of Music awarded Honorary Doctorates to Dworkin and Sir Simon Rattle, longtime Maestro of the Berlin Philharmonic.
He serves regularly as a panelist on influential arts committees such as Independent Sector’s Strategic Planning Advisory Group, Silk Road/Harvard Business School Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge panel (on invitation from Yo-Yo Ma), the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the MetLife Awards for Excellence in Community Engagement, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the National Association of Arts Presenters, Chamber Music America, The National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Surdna Foundation Arts Teachers Fellowship Program, as well as serving as a member of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance Dean Search Committee.
Dr. Dworkin also served as the Co-Chair of the Arts and Cultural Education Task Force for the State of Michigan designing the required arts curriculum for Michigan schools and served as Co-Chair of the Planning Task Force which oversaw the strategic merger of ArtServe Michigan (statewide arts advocacy organization) and MACAA (MI Assoc. of Community Arts Agencies). In addition, he serves on other strategic planning committees including the League of American Symphony Orchestras.
Dr. Dworkin serves (or has served) on the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestra, National Association of Performing Arts Presenters, National Society for the Gifted and Talented and Artserve Michigan, Knight Foundation’s Arts Advisory Board, Advisory Board of ASTA Alternative Strings Awards, Rachel Barton Pine Foundation and the Avery Fisher Artist Program, Editorial Board of Downtown New York Magazine and Independent Sector’s NGen Awards Committee.
As a spoken word artist, Dr. Dworkin has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Damien Woetzel, Anna Deveare Smith, Cristina Pato, Lil’ Buck and other notable artists. As a violinist/spoken word artist, Dr. Dworkin recorded and produced two CD’s entitled Ebony Rhythm and Bar-Talk, in addition to writing, producing and directing the independent film entitled Deliberation. An accomplished electric and acoustic violinist, Dr. Dworkin earned his Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. In April 2014, he became the first Musical Bridges Francis Family Fellow Awarded by University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also attended the Peabody Institute, the Philadelphia New School and the Interlochen Arts Academy, studying with Vladimir Graffman, Berl Senofsky, Jascha Brodsky, John Eaken, Renata Knific, Donald Hopkins and Stephen Shipps.
Dr. Dworkin authored the poetry collection, They Said I Wasn’t Really Black as well as the children’s book, The 1st Adventure of Chilli Pepperz. His writings have been featured in Symphony Magazine, Polyphonic.org, Andante and others. He contributed to the first English edition of Superior Bowing Technique, a treatise by legendary violinist Lucien Capet, and authored the foreword to William Grant Still’s Violin Collection. He has also arranged works for electric strings and developed Electric String 201, a college-level preparatory course in electric string performance. Dr. Dworkin founded and served as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Bard, a literary magazine with a readership of over 40,000.
Dr. Dworkin offers a uniquely strong organizational, fundraising and administrative background combined with an unwavering passion for music and its role in society. As Founder and President of The Sphinx Organization, he has built an infrastructure and led fundraising efforts totaling over 35 million dollars overseeing a staff and faculty of more than 40. With over $1,000,000 in prizes and scholarships awarded annually, the Sphinx Organization serves as the leading advocate for young people and diversity in the arts in the world.
A lifelong musician, Dr. Dworkin is an accomplished acoustic and electric violinist, a spoken-word and visual artist. As an artist, Aaron Dworkin is on the roster of Cadenza Artists. He has strong interests in politics, world history and issues of economic and social justice. In addition to various genres of music, he enjoys travel, movies and culinary arts.
To learn more about Aaron visit www.AaronDworkin.com
Credits and Awards