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Sphinx Virtuosi

For Justice and Peace
Friday, October 11, 2019 7 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Sphinx Virtuosi by Kevin Kennedy
The musicians of the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization perform a timely program in conjunction with the nationwide 400 Years of Inequality initiative. Damien Sneed’s “Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown”—from his opera We Shall Overcome—explores the plight of Africans forced into slavery with musical styles from the African American diaspora, while Michael Abels’s Global Warming celebrates diverse cultures. There’s also Philip Herbert’s moving string piece memorializing a teenage victim of racial violence, a new work by Xavier Foley co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and classics by Schubert and Bartók.


Sphinx Virtuosi
J’Nai Bridges, Mezzo-Soprano
Will Liverman, Baritone
Damien Sneed, Piano
Chorale Le Chateau


ROMERO Fuga con pajarillo

BARTÓK Allegro assai from Divertimento for Strings

PHILIP HERBERT Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence

MICHAEL ABELS Global Warming

SCHUBERT Presto from String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden" (arr. for string orchestra by Mahler)

SCHUBERT Presto from String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden" (arr. for string orchestra by Mahler)

DAMIEN SNEED "Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown" from We Shall Overcome (World Premiere)

Event Duration

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

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

In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.

The Sphinx Virtuosi performance and gala is made possible with lead support from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Robert F. Smith

At a Glance

Justice and peace find their way into music without regard to time or place. Michael Abels’s Global Warming speaks to not only the well-being of our planet, but expresses a hopeful outlook on global relations and transcending cultural differences. Bartók, who was destined to leave his native Hungary for the US, was looking for peace and solace during a challenging time in his homeland as World War II approached while writing his Divertimento for Strings. In his Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence, British composer Philip Herbert looks to solace when justice could not be served for an 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence, whose life was lost to a tragic incident of violence. Xavier Foley’s For Justice and Peace pays tribute to some of the divisiveness today, while also offering light and hope. Even Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Quartet, written only a few short years after the composer’s arrest due to rebellious behavior toward authorities, suggests the most unlikely use of power and protest. “Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown” from We Shall Overcome highlights the plight of Africans forced into slavery and transported during the arduous Middle Passage to the coasts of the Americas. In the end, as a listener, you decide the role both artists and citizens can play in propelling peace and positivity.

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