It is said that music soothes the soul and if there is one person that knows that to be true, it is fourteen-year-old Chicago cellist, Ifetayo Ali-Landing.

The young musician, recently set the music-world ablaze as she won, with her performance of Lalo’s Concert in D Minor, first place and $10,000.00 in the junior division at the prestigious Annual Sphinx Competition.


“Last year I came in second place, which was great,” Ali-Landing said in an interview with the Chicago Defender, “but what I really wanted was first place, and this year I got it.”

Ali-Landing, who is homeschooled, started playing music at three-years-old. Even at that early age, she could tell the difference between the sounds and pitches of the cello.

The young phenom is a member of the Hyde Park Suzukii Institute, an organization run by her mother and violin teacher, Lucinda. “Ifetayo is just one child from the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute who has been a part of this national competition,” Lucinda comments in the interview with the Defender. “We’ve sent three students there from this little itty, bitty school. What other school can boast that they have had three Sphinx winners in the country? Well this little Southside program on the second floor of a church can.”

The national Sphinx Competition gives young Black and Latino classical string instrument musicians the opportunity to compete under the guidance of an internationally-renowned panel of judges. The competitors also have the opportunity to perform with established professional musicians.

Congratulations are definitely in order for Ifetayo and the Hyde Park Suzukii Institute! To view this amazing young musician’s winning performance, check out the video below.


Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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