The SPHINX VIRTUOSI is one of the nation’s most dynamic professional chamber orchestras. Comprised of 18 of the nation’s top Black and Latino classical soloists, these alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition come together each fall as cultural ambassadors to reach new audiences. This unique ensemble earned rave 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 “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 halls and earning outstanding reviews from The New York Times each year. 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.
The 2017 Sphinx Virtuosi national tour is made possible by our lead corporate sponsor, JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase has been a sponsor of the Sphinx Organization for more than 15 years and is proud to support the Sphinx Virtuosi.
Our goals and strategies to develop and promote diverse talent align with JPMorgan Chase’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. The creation of art encourages people to think differently, appreciate disparate points of view and express their own ideas.
Through their Advancing Black Leaders diversity strategy, JPMorgan Chase remains specifically committed to advancing talent from the black community – within and outside of their firm – and promoting leadership excellence at all levels. JPMorgan Chase believes that by nurturing and supporting talent, we build a stronger foundation for tomorrow for their diverse customers, clients and communities.
2018 Program: Music without Borders
The 2018 tour will feature an exciting new program entitled Music Without Borders, illuminating works by composers from communities searching for harmony and separated by time, distance, hardship and conflict. The tour will include works by Emmy nominated Syrian-American composer Kareem Roustom, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gaspar Cassadó, and features a newly commissioned work by Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter and composer, Terence Blanchard.
For North American bookings please contact California Artists Management:
Susan Endrizzi Morris
tel: 707-937-4787 / 415-302-1083
Donald E. Osborne
For all International bookings please contact Sphinx Organization:
400 Renaissance Center, Suite 2550
Detroit, MI 48243
tel: 313-877-9100 x 712
Sphinx Virtuosi and Catalyst Quartet are on a Mission
Sphinx Virtuosi and Catalyst Quartet at Carnegie Hall
By Vivien Schweitzer / The New York Times
October 15, 2015
“……The Sphinx Virtuosi, a string group, performed at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday evening as part of its annual tour. The concert, called “Inspiring Women,” was dedicated to female composers and historical figures. It opened with a propulsive, richly hued interpretation of “String” from Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto for Orchestra, which demonstrated the ensemble’s polish and tonal allure. Daniel Bernard Roumain’s “Rosa Parks Symphony,” a tribute to the civil rights activist, featured wailing, passionate violin declarations over ominous, rumbling lower strings…..”
O Say Can You Hear?
Sphinx Virtuosi and Catalyst Quartet at Carnegie Hall
By Anthony Tommasini / The New York Times
October 30, 2014
” ….. The violinist Adé Williams, 17, a 2013 competition winner, had John Corigliano’s impetuous “Red Violin Caprices” all to herself and played it stunningly. The accomplished Sphinx Virtuosi also offered Gabriela Lena Frank’s pungent, folkloric “Coqueteos” and Mark O’Connor’s “Elevations, II,” with its bursts of country fiddling folded into music of plush harmonies and intricate textures…..”
Sphinx Virtuosi Concert
October 14, 2014
“….I was luck enough to experience on the finest chamber music orchestra, Sphinix Virtuosi with Catalyst Quartet as they Tour in their Americana program. The young dynamic troupe is a professional chamber orchestra and the only all-Black and Latino string orchestra in America….”
Read more…Sphinx Virtuosi review: Glimpsing classical music’s future
By Brett Campbell / Oregon Artswatch
October 14, 2014
“…Before they’d even played a note at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall, Detroit’s Sphinx Virtuosi had already blasted through three of the barriers separating classical music from contemporary relevance. First, they dared to play an entire program of music by American composers (including a world premiere), all but one of them (Aaron Copland) still living, breathing, and writing music. Exclusively presenting creations from our own time and place would be unremarkable in any other art form, of course, but in the not-coincidentally shriveling classical music establishment, it’s still too rare.Second, the musicians arrayed on stage were neither old nor white. Sphinx consists of 18 young African- and Latino-American classical musicians — communities terribly underrepresented at Oregon classical music concerts.Third, the musicians actually respected their audience, moving briskly and purposefully to their music stands and rather than shuffling score pages around were playing music within a few seconds of hitting the stage. Later, two members spoke engagingly to the audience in an easygoing way that suggested both serious preparation yet natural spontaneity….”
Read more…Review: Sphinx Virtuosi at Kennedy Center
By Cecelia H. Porter / The Washington Post
November 8, 2013
“…Overall, the Virtuosi’s playing combined zest, attention to detail, tight ensemble and glistening or deeply amorous tone quality, as the music called for. These high standards held fast despite the diversity of the evening’s program, ranging from two major works of Johann Sebastian Bach (some of his Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, plus his Sixth Brandenburg Concerto, BWV 1051), and Benjamin Britten’s rambunctious Simple Symphony, Op. 4, to some Astor Piazzolla tangos and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s “Louisiana Blues Strut: A Cakewalk.”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. All in all, Motor City’s Sphinx Competition clearly exemplifies money and time well invested.”
Read more…Thoughtful string program from Sphinx Virtuosi
By Stephen Brookes / The Washington Post
October 11, 2012
“…They arrived at the Terrace Theater on Wednesday night as part of the Fortas Chamber Music series and presented a program of largely Latin American music that was beautifully played — and, frankly, a refreshing counterpoint to the pallid menu of Bruckner, Beethoven and other low-risk composers being wholesaled at the Kennedy Center this season.In fact, some of the most fiery and flavorful music of the past century has come out of Latin America, and the Sphinx players (joined by the Catalyst Quartet) made a good case for bringing more of it into the mainstream….”
Read more…Sphinx Virtuosi Awaken the Past Stanford Lively Arts
By David Bratman / San Francisco Classical Voice
October 19, 2011
“…As an exercise in overcoming cultural stereotypes, Wednesday’s concert worked both ways. No presumption that special programs for minorities will lead to over promotion of the under qualified could survive listening to this group. It is an orchestra of complete professionalism and winning personality. The program included both an Afro-American and Latin American composers; however, the proof of these performers’ commitment and understanding of the field of music they’ve entered was in their renditions of works by the old masters….”
Read more…Chamber Orchestra featuring the Catalyst Quartet
By Timothy H. Lindeman
October 7, 2011 – Greensboro, NC:
“Rhythmic vitality and terrific ensemble characterized this performance of the 18-strong Sphinx Virtuosi. Perhaps the absence of a conductor explains the tight-knit ensemble work as well as the sense of democratic music making in which each musician must take personal responsibility for his/her performance. This group of “top alumni of the national Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players” delighted the large audience in Aycock Auditorium on the UNCG campus….”
Read more…Sphinx Virtuosi a blast of style and talent
Tue, 10/4/2011 – 11:29pm — Elliot Mandel / CHICAGO CLASSICAL MUSIC
Oct 5, 2011
“The musicians of the Sphinx Virtuosi strode onto Chicago’s Harris Theater stage Sunday afternoon with a stylish swagger that betrayed the exuberance of their music. A chamber orchestra without a conductor, the Sphinx is made up of alumni of the national Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players. The Detroit-based Sphinx Organization has been promoting ethnic diversity in American orchestral music for 15 years while producing top-rate musicians, some of whom were on display in a program perfectly designed to showcase their virtuosity and youthful energy…””…Again, the Sphinx musicians rose to the challenges as if they had been playing nothing but tangos throughout their young careers. Facing each other on stage, the two quartets danced and traded punches, approximating the tense strains of the bandoneon over Eric Thompson’s sturdy pulse in the bass….””…In many ways, the Sphinx Organization is a response to the oft-maligned image of classical music as stodgy, old, elitist, and white. If Sunday’s concert was any indication of the future, we music lovers will have plenty of reason to applaud.”
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