Sphinx Virtuosi at the MFA: For Justice and Peace
“True to their name, the Sphinx Virtuosi call up the vision of an iconic mythological feline with its immeasurable power, unwavering command and soulful beauty.” – The Washington Post
The Detroit-based Sphinx Virtuosi will be at the MFA as part of a special, three-day residency, culminating in a powerful concert performance of their program, For Justice and Peace. It will feature John Williams’ Three Themes (arrangements from scores of Schindler’s List, Angela’s Ashes, and Hymn to the Fallen (from Saving Private Ryan); Frank Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, a work by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla; and a piece from black British composer, Philip Herbert, dedicated to 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence whose life was lost to violence. Attendees will also enjoy access to the special exhibition, Art of the Stage: Picasso to Hockney, before the performance, from 6 – 7 pm.
The Sphinx Virtuosi are the nation’s most dynamic, exhilarating professional chamber orchestra, dedicated to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in classical music. Comprised of eighteen of the nation’s top Black and Latinx classical soloists, the Virtuosi are alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition, and its members work together as cultural ambassadors reaching new audiences. This unique ensemble earned rapturous reviews from The New York Times during its highly acclaimed debut at Carnegie Hall in December 2004: Allan Kozinn described their performance as “first-rate in every way” and raved that “the ensemble produced a more beautiful, precise and carefully shaped sound than some fully professional orchestras that come through Carnegie Hall in the course of the year.”
The Sphinx Virtuosi have returned to Carnegie Hall annually since 2006, performing to sold-out audiences and earning additional outstanding reviews from The New York Times each year. Acting as 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. Inspired by the Sphinx Organization’s overarching mission, the Sphinx Virtuosi work to advance diversity in classical music while engaging young and new audiences through performances of varied repertoire. Masterpieces by Bach, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, and Mozart are performed alongside the more seldom-presented works by composers of color, including Coleridge Taylor Perkinson, George Walker, Michael Abels, and Astor Piazzolla.
Members of the Sphinx Virtuosi have performed as soloists with America’s major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. Members also hold professional orchestral positions, and several have been named laureates of other prestigious international competitions, including the Queen Elizabeth and Yehudi Menuhin Competitions. Roster members have completed and continue to pursue their advanced studies at the nation’s top music schools, including Juilliard, Curtis, Eastman, Peabody, Harvard, and the University of Michigan. The Sphinx Virtuosi’s first recording was released in 2011 on the White Pine label and features music of Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Gabriela Lena Frank, and George Walker.
Want to enjoy more live performances from local and national performing arts organizations during this special exhibition? Check out our full schedule here! MFA Members enjoy free admission for 12 months, early access to special exhibitions, discounts at our Store and Café, reciprocal benefits to hundreds of museum across the country, and more.