September 29, 2015
Senior Director, Communications
HOUSTON SYMPHONY AND UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON PRESENT THE SPHINX VIRTUOSI CHAMBER ORCHESTRA IN FREE CONCERT
The nation’s top Black and Latino musicians in Houston as part of their national fall tour
Pianist and Houston Symphony Composer-in-Residence, Gabriela Lena Frank, performs with the ensemble
The Sphinx Virtuosi program entitled “Inspiring Women” celebrates female composers and their works
October 8, 2015
HOUSTON (September 29, 2015)—The Houston Symphony announced today that the nationally-renowned touring ensemble Sphinx Virtuosi will descend on Houston October 8, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., for a free concert featuring works by African-American and Latino composers at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. The Houston tour stop is co-presented with the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music.
The Sphinx Virtuosi is comprised of 18 of the nation's top Black and Latino classical soloists and is considered one of the nation's most dynamic professional chamber orchestras. Each fall, the alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition come together as cultural ambassadors to reach new audiences.
At once a bridge between minority communities and the classical music establishment, the Sphinx Virtuosi continues to garner critical acclaim during their annual national tours. Members of the Sphinx Virtuosi have performed as soloists with the nation’s major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Houston Symphonies.
“The Houston Symphony is proud to partner once again with the Sphinx Organization in the shared goal of advancing diversity in the field of classical music,” said Steve Wenig, Director of Community Partnerships, Houston Symphony. “As we seek to be even more accessible to all of Houston, we are thrilled to offer this concert for free and in a prominent community venue such as Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.”
The program entitled “Inspiring Women” focuses the spotlight on female composers and works inspired by great women. Composer, pianist, and Houston Symphony Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank will perform the 2015 premiere of her new concerto commissioned by the Sphinx Organization. In the spring of 2016, the Houston Symphony will perform two of Frank’s works: a concerto commissioned by the Houston Symphony and written by Frank for Principal Viola Wayne Brooks, entitled La Llorona, and the symphonic work Escaramuza (Skirmish), a high-energy romp inspired by the music and dances of Perú.
In addition to their performance at Wheeler, the musicians of Sphinx Virtuosi will separate into smaller ensembles and visit several local schools including Burrus, Atherton, Gregory Lincoln and Looscan Elementary Schools in Houston Independent School District as well as Cummings Elementary in the Alief Independent School District.
No tickets will be issued for this performance and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. For additional information, please call (713) 224-7575.
The Sphinx Organization is the Detroit-based national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. The organization’s founding and mission were informed by the life experiences of Aaron Dworkin, the organization’s founder. As a young Black violinist, he was acutely aware of the lack of diversity both on stage and in the audience in concert halls. He founded Sphinx while a graduate student at the University of Michigan, to address the stark under-representation of people of color in classical music. President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, Aaron P. Dworkin currently serves as dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, which is ranked among the top performing arts schools in the nation.
About the Houston Symphony
During the 2015-16 season, the Houston Symphony will celebrate its second season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $32.8 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians and 4 community-embedded musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 300 performances for 330,000 people, including 97,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.