Named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Influencers in the nation, Kennedy Center’s Human Spirit Award recipient and Detroit Crain’s 40 Under 40, Afa Sadykhly Dworkin is a musical thought leader and cross-sector strategist driving national programming that promotes diversity in classical music. She serves as President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization, the nation’s leading organization transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Born in Moscow and raised in Azerbaijan, Ms. Dworkin’s music training began with the Soviet training at the prestigious Azerbaijan National Conservatory where she honed her craft under the tutelage of the region’s leading artists. She subsequently joined the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra as an entering freshman at the University of Michigan School of Music, also earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Violin Performance with High Honors.  Her career as a performer has taken her to Russia, Switzerland, Austria and the United States. 


  • Azerbaijan National Conservatory
  • University of Michigan School of Music, BM and MM in violin performance

Teaching Experience

  • Clarkston Conservatory in Michigan (former)
  • Lecturer, University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Adjunct Faculty, Roosevelt University’s Master’s in Arts Administration
  • Lectures at Bowling Green State University, Penn State and Central Michigan University.