Biography - Afa S. Dworkin
President and Artistic Director
Ms. Dworkin has worked with the Sphinx Organization since 1999. Until 2015, she served as Executive and Artistic Director, overseeing all fundraising and programmatic aspects of the organization’s operations. During her tenure, she has also developed and maintained a comprehensive national roster of musicians of color, launched key partnerships with dozens of symphony orchestras around the country, as well as numerous national and international partnerships, in addition to leading the organization’s most successful short-term fundraising campaign.
Ms. Dworkin has appeared as a speaker and presenter at national conferences, including International Arts & Ideas Festival, Chamber Music America (opening address), the National Association for Schools of Music, the League of American Orchestras, ICSOM, Americans for the Arts, University of Michigan’s MLK panel discussion, Bowling Green University, Central Michigan University, Lorraine College Signature Artist Series, NALAC’s Regional Conference, San Francisco Symphony’s National Orchestral Forum, and various media outlets, including The Toledo Blade, Interlochen Public Radio, Greensborough Public Radio and Michigan Radio. Ms. Dworkin has also participated as a multi-year orchestra grant review panelist for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Association of Performing Arts Presenters Young Performers Career Advancement panel, 3Arts Awards, as well as the MetLife Awards administered by The League of American Orchestras. She has also participated in the educational institution research panel hosted by Surdna Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, a well as Charlotte Arts and Sciences Council grants, Independent Sector’s American Express NGen awards, Florida, Indiana and Oklahoma State Arts Council grants and Atlanta Symphony’s Talent Development Program juries. She served as a contributing writer to Polyphonic.org, an on-line industry source, as well as Michigan String Teachers Association magazine.
Ms. Dworkin recently became faculty for Roosevelt University’s Master’s Program in Performing Arts Administration. She is member of the Advisory Committee for the Ben Holt Memorial Recital Series hosted by Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, as well as formerly the Board of Trustees of Walnut Hill School for the Arts (the premiere arts preparatory high school) and the National Guild for Community Music Education. Currently, she serves as a Trustee for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and INTAKE Organization. She also serves as an advisor for Casa de Lerma Musicale (a music publishing firm founded by preeminent musicologist Dominique Rene de Lerma).
An accomplished violinist trained in Azerbaijan (former Soviet conservatory system), Ms. Dworkin graduated with High Honors from the University of Michigan with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Violin Performance. She has previously served on the faculty of Clarkston Conservatory and was a member of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra from 1994-2000 (entering the orchestra as a freshman in college). In addition to extensive teaching experience, she has performed with several symphony orchestras and chamber groups in Russia, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Austria and the United States. Ms. Dworkin may be heard as an electric violinist on a CD entitled “Bar-Talk”, featuring the renowned violin duets by Bela Bartok.
She also has international corporate experience, having previously served as a tri-lingual interpreter and an Executive Assistant to the President at ARCO, The International Oil and Gas Company in Baku, Azerbaijan. Ms. Dworkin resides in Ann Arbor, MI, with her husband and two sons. In addition to the arts, she is an avid cook and enjoys travel.