Cellist Thomas Mesa has won the senior division first prize, worth $50,000, at the 19th Sphinx Competition in Detroit, Michigan. The competition is held every year and is open to all Junior High, High School, and College age Black and Latino string players residing in the U.S. The Sphinx Competition offers young Black and Latino classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges and to perform with established professional musicians in a competition setting. Its primary goals are to encourage, develop and recognize classical music talent in the Black and Latino communities.
The 25-year-old Cuban-American cellist is a member of the St Petersburg Piano Quartet, and has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician. A teacher at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and at the St Petersburg International Music Academy, he is currently studying for a doctorate of musical arts at the Manhattan School of Music, having graduated from The Juilliard School in 2012 and Northwestern University in 2014.
Senior division second prize, worth $20,000, was awarded to 20-year-old violinist Annelle Gregory, while third prize went to 21-year-old cellist Guilherme Nardelli Monegatto.
In the junior division, first prize, worth $10,000, went to 16-year-old violinist Maria Sanderson, second prize to 13-year-old cellist Ifetayo Ali and third prize to 17-year-old bassist Nicholas Arredondo.