Beyond Comedy: A Classical Music Innovator Thanks Robin Williams

Aug 14, 2014

You know how, when someone who means something to you dies, you hunger for scraps of stories about them?

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Feeling that this week, I went hunting for any story that might link Robin Williams and classical music, and found this sweet surprise: Williams’s encouragement and financial generosity nurtured the young violinist behind the barrier-breaking Sphinx Organization.

Detroit-based Sphinx is dedicated to diversity in classical music, enabling composers, performers and audiences of color to enrich their lives with its challenges and inspirations. There’s even a Northwest Public Radio connection - As part of an artistic partnership, young award-winning Sphinx musicians perform on From the Top with Christopher O’Riley, the show heard every Sunday at noon on NWPR’s Classical Music service.

Williams grew up in Detroit. Sphinx’s founder, the violinist Aaron Dworkin, wrote this to the hometown paper this week: “Robin played a pivotal role in my being able to attend the University of Michigan, and without his generosity and belief in me during one of the hardest time periods in my life, I probably never would have gotten my degrees or launched Sphinx.” Read the whole story here.