Classical Music

Njioma Chinyere Grevious Awarded 1st Prize at Sphinx Competition 2023

Njioma Chinyere Grevious will receive the $50,000 USD Robert Frederick Smith Prize and a number of solo appearances with major orchestras


Organized by the Sphinx Organization, the national Sphinx Competition is an annual event that offers young Black and Latinx classical string players the opportunity to perform before an internationally renowned jury and be mentored by top industry professionals.

As the 2023 first prize winner, violinist Njioma Chinyere Grevious will receive the $50,000 USD Robert Frederick Smith Prize and a number of solo appearances with major orchestras. Njioma was also awarded the $5,000 Audience Choice Prize.

Second place and $20,000 was given to violinist Alexandra Switala while 3rd Place and $10,000 went to violist Dillon Scott.

You can watch their performances at this year’s Senior Division Finals, here! 


In tonight’s final, Alexandra and Njioma played the first movement of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Concerto for Violin in G Minor, Op. 80 while Dillon performed the fourth movement of Roberto Sierra’s Concerto for Viola.

The three finalists performed with conductor Kalena Bovell and the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, the all-Black and Latinx orchestra comprised of top professionals from around the country.

The 2023 jury comprised Joseph Conyers, Zuill Bailey, Juan-Miguel Hernandez, Patrice Jackson, Jennifer Koh, Michael Kondziolka, and Erik Ronmark.


A graduate of The Juilliard School, where she was awarded the John Erskine Prize, Njioma Chinyere Grevious received the Music Academy of the West Keston-Max Fellowship to study and perform with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2022.

As a member of the Abeo Quartet, Njioma won top prizes at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition, Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition, and Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Finalists in the 2021 Young Concert Artists competition, the quartet is currently the inaugural Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the University of Delaware under the mentorship of the Calidore Quartet.

Njioma’s principal teachers have included Ronald Copes, James Buswell, Mariana Green-Hill, and Farhoud Moshfegh. She has participated in festivals including [email protected], Perlman Chamber Music Workshop, Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Montreal International String Quartet Academy, Meadowmount, Fontainebleau Schools, and Boston University Tanglewood Institute.


In the Junior Division of this year’s competition, 17-year-old cellist Brandon Leonard received first prize, which includes $10,000 USD, a number of solo appearances with major orchestras, and a nationally-broadcast radio appearance on From the Top.

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