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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Sphinx Virtuosi

Music Without Borders
Thursday, October 11, 2018 6 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Sphinx Virtuosi by Kevin Kennedy
The Sphinx Virtuosi make a timely statement in an eclectic program where music from diverse traditions is shared and cultural dialogues are opened. Kareem Roustom’s Dabke bridges Arabic and Western music, while the final movement of Cassadó’s Suite for Cello Solo fuses folk idioms with art music. The human spirit’s triumph in the face of adversity is celebrated in Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, the protest anthem “Glory” from the film Selma (winner of the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song), and the South African devotional song "Ndikhokhele Bawo." Terence Blanchard and Derrick Spiva Jr. both showcase works for their NY premieres, envisioning a future based on diversity and mutual respect.


Sphinx Virtuosi
Alex Laing, Clarinet
Annelle Gregory, Violin
Sterling Elliott, Cello
Thomas Mesa, Cello
Damien Sneed, Piano
Eugene Rogers, Conductor


KAREEM ROUSTOM Dabke for String Orchestra
SHOSTAKOVICH Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a
CASSADÓ Intermezzo e danza finale from Suite for Cello Solo
TERENCE BLANCHARD Dance for a New Day (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
DERRICK SPIVA JR. a vision unfolding: "Anthems of a Crowd" Part I (NY Premiere)
TRAD. "Ndikhokhele Bawo" (arr. Lhente-Mari Pitout)
JOHN LEGEND / COMMON / RHYMEFEST "Glory" from Selma (arr. Eugene Rogers)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.
Sphinx Virtuosi

Support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.

At a Glance

The old saying that music is a universal language has never been more relevant than it is in today’s globalized, yet increasingly factious world. Each of the pieces on tonight’s stylistically wide-ranging program relates in one way or another to the unifying theme of music without borders. In the words of composer Derrick Spiva Jr., “Through learning music of other cultures, I believe that the opportunity for dialogue—rather than conflict—between strangers is opened, and we can become a society with less conflict due to cultural misunderstanding.”

The program might equally well have been titled “new music for an interconnected world,” the motto adopted by Bridge to Everywhere, the musical collective that Spiva directs in Los Angeles. Just as Kareem Roustom’s Dabke for String Orchestra bridges the worlds of Syrian and Western music, so too does Gaspar Cassadó’s Suite for Solo Cello blend the idioms of folk and art music. Shostakovich’s searing Chamber Symphony celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity no less than Joel Thompson’s Caged Bird, the stirring protest song “Glory” from the 2014 film Selma, and the traditional South African devotional song “Ndikhokhele Bawo.” Terence Blanchard’s Dance for a New Day and Spiva’s a vision unfolding: “Anthems of a Crowd” Part I—both receiving New York premieres—envision a hopeful future built on diversity and mutual respect.


Sphinx Virtuosi

The Sphinx Virtuosi is one of the nation’s most dynamic professional chamber orchestras. Including 18 of the nation’s top black and Latinx classical soloists—primarily alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition—these artists 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 the performance as “first-rate in every way,” noting 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. 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.


EXIGENCE is a vocal ensemble that highlights professional artistry within black and Latinx communities. Led by founding conductor Eugene Rogers, EXIGENCE brings together vocal artists—including solo performers, voice teachers, conductors, and composers—who recognize the power of community and of expression through choral music.

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