February 5, 2018

CIM Alumnus Wins 2018 Sphinx Competition

Rubén Rengel
Violinist Rubén Rengel takes top honor in annual competition for African-American and Latinx string players.

Cleveland Institute of Music alumnus Rubén Rengel won first prize in the senior division of the 21st-annual Sphinx Competition on February 4. Rengel, a Venezuelan-American violinist, earned his bachelor’s degree at CIM in 2016, where he studied with Jaime Laredo.

The Sphinx Competition aims to encourage, develop and recognize classical music talent in the African-American and Latinx communities. It is open to junior high, high school and college students who play string instruments. Former laureates have gone on to solo and orchestral careers with major orchestras.

“We are so proud and delighted for Rubén,” said Dr. Judy Bundra, CIM’s Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the Conservatory. “He’s clearly a talented young musician—he won our concerto competition in 2014, which resulted in a solo appearance with the CIM Orchestra at Severance Hall—with a promising career ahead of him.  

“CIM is a leader among conservatories for its commitment to diversity,” Bundra continued, “with its pre-college Minority Artist Fellowship program and a record 11% of our incoming class composed of African-American and Latinx students. The institute’s commitment to diversity is driven by the firm belief that orchestras and classical ensembles must better reflect the multiplicity of the 21st-century audience.”

As first laureate of the Sphinx Competition, Rengel was awarded the $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize, solo appearances with major orchestras, and a custom-made gold bow from Berg Bows International.