Gabriel Martins ’21 MM Wins First Prize at Sphinx

NEC strings soloists Gabriel Martins ’21 MM and Jordan Bak ’16 won First and Third Prizes in the Sphinx Competition's Senior Division.

Jordan Bak, Gabriel Martins, Aaron Olguin smile while holding their trophies for the 2020 Sphinx Competition
Jordan Bak ’16, Gabriel Martins ’21 MM, and Aaron Olguin won Third, First, and Second Prizes, respectively, in the 2020 Sphinx Competition Senior Division.

Cellist Gabriel Martins ’21 MM has won first prize in the Senior Division of the 23rd annual Sphinx Competition, earning a $50,000 prize and prestigious performance opportunities. Gabriel previously won third in this competition in 2017.

Violist and NEC alumnus Jordan Bak ’16 won the Senior Division third prize. At NEC, Gabriel studies with Laurence Lesser, and Jordan studied with NEC alum Dmitri Murrath.

Boston BEAM/NEC Prep student Zehavi Rodriguez (cello) competed as a semifinalist in the Junior Division.

Gabriel and Jordan join past NEC winners of the Sphinx Competition including Thomas Mesa ’08 Prep, Clayton Penrose-Whitmore ’15, Lev Mamuya (NEC Prep), Tristan Flores (NEC Prep), and Danielle Wiebe ‘13.


The Sphinx Competition is a national competition offering young Black and Latinx classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges, and to perform with and receive mentorship from established professional musicians. Prizes range from $3,000 to the top $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize. The Sphinx Competition is held every year in Detroit, Michigan.

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