LEWISBURG, Pa. — Sphinx Virtuosi, an ensemble of recent Conservatory graduates, will perform Saturday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University. There will be a pre-performance talk at 7:15 p.m. in the Weis Center Lobby. The event is sponsored in part by Sam and Nancy Craig.
This conductor-less ensemble of soloists comprises the top alumni of the national Sphinx Competition for young black and Latino string players. The program, "Music of the Americas," will feature music from Astor Piazzolla, Osvaldo Golijov, Jessie Montgomery, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Alberto Ginastera.
Kathryn Maguet, executive director of the Weis Center, says, "The energetic and dynamic musicians of Sphinx Virtuosi are truly the future of chamber music. Through their exuberance and technical finesse, the Sphinx Virtuosi embodies a world in which classical music reflects cultural diversity. Their lush and magnificent Weis Center program highlights African American and Latino composers. I encourage Central Pennsylvania audiences to seize the opportunity to experience this first-rate and lively chamber ensemble."
The Weis Center is doing a special promo for high school students for this show and the concert by Chilean folk musicians Inti-Illimani on Oct. 11, since both have significant educational components. Students can get in for $5 if they call the Box Office and mention promo code LATIN AMERICA.
Music critic Allan Kozinn described their performance as "first-rate in every way," saying 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."
Members of the Sphinx Virtuosi have completed and continue to pursue their studies at the nation's top music schools — Juilliard, Curtis, Eastman, Peabody, Harvard and the University of Michigan. Several members already hold professional orchestral positions with the Oregon, Grand Rapids and San Antonio symphonies.
Sphinx Virtuosi members have appeared as soloists with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras, among others, and roster members have been named Laureates of other prestigious international competitions, including the Queen Elizabeth and Yehudi Menuhin.
In addition to masterpieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, the ensemble has been a champion for seldom presented works by composers of color, including Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, George Walker, Michael Abels and Astor Piazzolla.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 62 and over, and $10 for children 18 and under and are available at www.bucknell.edu/BoxOffice or by calling the box office at 570-577-1000.
The next event in the Weis Center's series is the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on Oct. 18 at 7:30 pm. The performance will have an audience participation component, so ukulele players are encouraged to download the music and chords for the song at http://www.bucknell.edu/Ukes.xml.
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