SphinxCon to feature SMTD faculty and alumni

School of Music, Theatre & Dance  faculty and alumni will be well represented at this year’s SphinxCon: Ignite to Action, a national conference that explores diversity in the arts. The conference takes place February 5-6 at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit and features industry leaders presenting ideas, tools, and inspiration to spark conversation and action focused on diversity in the arts.

The conference concludes with the Sphinx Competition Finals Concert on Sunday, February 7 at 2 p.m. at Orchestra Hall (the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center) in Detroit.

Among the 2016 SphinxCon presenters is SMTD Dean Aaron Dworkin, founder of the Sphinx Organization, who will interview actor Delroy Lindo, recipient of SphinxCon’s Arthur L. Johnson Memorial Series Award (Feb. 6 at 9 p.m.). Dworkin will also present a session titled “Dean Maverick: Bringing the Entrepreneurial Mindset to the Academic World” (Feb. 6 at 3 p.m.).

Other SphinxCon participants from SMTD include Mark Clague, director of entrepreneurship and career services and associate professor of musicology. He will be joined by SMTD alumna Laurie Baefsky, the executive director of U-M’s ArtsEngine and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, a national organization housed at U-M, for a session titled “Innovate True: On the Art of Disruption & Entrepreneurship” (Feb. 6 at 11:30 a.m.).

The conference will also present alumna Carla Dirlikov, a world acclaimed mezzo-soprano and a recipient of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence in 2014. She will perform with the Brasil Guitar Duo and violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins on Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. Performing as concertmaster at the Finals concert is SMTD Associate Professor of Violin Danielle Belen, a 2015 Sphinx Medal of Excellence winner and the 2008 winner of the Sphinx Competition Senior Division.

The Sphinx Organization is offering complimentary registration for the conference to all SMTD alumni, faculty, students, and staff. To receive the free registration, visit and use the code SMTD2016. For tickets to the Finals Concert, visit or call 313-675-5111.