— New York Concert Review
The Sphinx Virtuosi is one of the nation’s most dynamic professional chamber orchestras. Comprised of 18 of the nation’s top Black and Latinx classical soloists, primarily alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition in Detroit, these artists come together each fall as cultural ambassadors to reach new audiences. At once a bridge between minority communities and the classical music establishment, the Sphinx Virtuosi continue to garner critical acclaim during their annual national tours to many of the leading venues around the country.
Aldemaro Romero Fuga con pajarillo (Fugue with little bird)
Bartok Divertimento for Strings
Michael Abels Global Warming
Philip Herbert Elegy In Memoriam, Stephen Lawrence
Xavier Foley For Justice and Peace for Violin, Bass and String Orchestra
Jesse Montgomery Source Code
Schubert Death and Maiden, Finale
In his Elegy, a Black British composer, Philip Herbert, looks to solace when justice could not be served for an 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence, whose life was lost to a tragic incident of violence. Justice and Peace find their way into music without regard to time and place: on this program, The Sphinx Virtuosi offer Jessie Montgomery’s Source Code, which pays homage to African American artists prominent during the peak of the Civil Rights era in the United States.
Even Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, written only a few short years after the composer’s arrest due to rebellious behavior toward the authorities, suggest the most unlikely use of power and protest. Bela Bartok, who was destined to leave Europe for America was looking for peace and solace during a challenging time for his homeland Hungary, as World War II approached.
As we reflect on the historical and current challenges of Venezuela, The Sphinx Virtuosi chose the music of Romero, who invoked traditional dance and improvisatory qualities to entice his audiences. Xavier Foley’s new work pays tribute to some of the divisiveness of our days, while also offering light and hope. Abels’ Global Warming speaks to not only the well-being of our earth, but expresses a hopeful outlook he had upon global relations and transcending cultural difference. In the end, as a listener, you must decide the role both artists and citizens can play in propelling peace and positivity.
Learn more about The Sphinx Virtuosi and The Sphinx Organization at their website and on Facebook.
Guided performance for Des Moines area middle and high school students. Friday, October 4, 2019, at 10 AM at Hoyt Sherman Place.
© 2019 Civic Music Association.