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The Sphinx Organization, based in Detroit, is internationally known for its efforts to increase diversity in classical music, as well as for its annual competition for young Black and Latino string players. Sphinx Journeys is a co-production of WRCJ Detroit and The Sphinx Organization.
Listen now to these archive editions of Sphinx Journeys:
Episode 307 - En Todo Mexico (Across Mexico)
Selections include "Danzon No. 2" by Arturo Marquez, performed by Simon Bolivar Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel; the "Love Duet" and "Postlude" from Daniel Catan’s opera, "Rappaccini’s Daughter;” and "Symphony # 4" by Carlos Chavez.
305 Encores and Miniatures
Enjoy short pieces - encores and miniatures - from Black and Latino composers Heitor Villa Lobos, Marlos Nobre, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork.
Episode 304 - Homage to Haiti
Ludovic Lamothe, known as "The Black Chopin," was a Haitian classical music composer born in 1882. In this episode, hear his “La Dangereuse” and "Dances No. 1 and No. 4," performed by Charles Phillips. Next up: Classical meets Hip-Hop in "Sonata for Violin and Turntables by contemporary Haitian composer Daniel Bernard Roumain. Finally, hear the Etude, Romance, Lullaby, Dance, and Mascarone (which is a type of an ornament) from "Suite # I" by Frantz Casseus.
Episode 303 - Passport to Africa
Here, Aaron presents classical music by African composers Fela Sowande, Mzilikazi Khumalo and Dumisani Abraham Maraire.
Episode 302 - El Barroco Hispanico
Hear Baroque music by Latino composers Juan Gutierrez Padilla, Manuel Zumaya, and Esteban Salas.
Episode 301 - It's Cinema Time
Hear music for movies composed by Terrance Blanchard, Quincy Jones and Duke Ellington.
Episode 207 - America the Spiritual
Hear the influence of African American spiritual music in works and performances by Frederick Tillis, Kathleen Battle, William Grant Still, Harry Burleigh, Jascha Heifetz, Barbara Hendricks and Jessye Norman.
Episode 206 - Dancing around the World
Journey around the world to discover how composers of color bring dance idioms to classical works, with music by Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez, Alberto Ginastera, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, William Grant Still, Astor Piazzolla and Florence B. Price.
Episode 205 - Chamber Music America
Hear music composed by Ulysses Kay, Colridge Taylor Perkinson and Adolphus Hailstork.
Episode 204 - The Southern Legacy
Discover how the American South influenced music by William Levi Dawson, Adolphus Hailstork and Ulysses Kay.
Episode 203 - Composers of Tomorrow
Hear music by rising stars Daniel Bernard Roumain, James Lee III, and Valerie Coleman.
Episode 202 - Composers of Today
Hear contemporary classical music from Gabriela Lena Frank, Tania Leon and Michael Abels.
Episode 201 - Black Women Composers
Enjoy music written by Florence Price, Margaret Bonds and Undine Smith Moore.
Episode 101 - A Journey of the Harlem Quartet
The Harlem Quartet is the all Black and Latino professional string ensemble comprised of First Place Laureates of the national Sphinx Competition. The quartet consists of violinists Ilmar Gavilan and Melissa White along with violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez and cellist Desmond Neysmith. Listeners will hear The Harlem Quartet playing music from At the Octoroon Balls, composed by Wynton Marsalis; Mi Menor Conga by Guido Lopez Gavilan (Ilmar’s father); and Take the A Train, by Billy Strayhorn.
Episode 102 - The Remarkable Journey of William Grant Still
Among his many achievements, William Grant Still became the first African-American composer to have his work performed by a major American orchestra and the first African-American to have an opera produced by a major company in the United States. Listen and hear his Afro-American Symphony; Suite for Violin and Piano; and Ennanga I, II, III.
Episode 103 - A Journey from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson
Hear Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Romance in G Major for Violin and Orchestra, performed by violinist Rachel Barton Pine, and Danse Negre, perfomred by The Chicago Sinfonietta under the direction of Paul Freeman. Also on the program is Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson's composition The Symphony of the Sphinx premiered in 2002 in Detroit by the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Leslie B. Dunne.
Episode 104 - A Journey to France
Hear the work of Black composers Joseph de Bolougne de Saint-Georges (The Concerto in A Major and Quartets No. IV and V) and J.J.O. de Meude-Monpas (Violin Concerto in D Major).
Episode 105 - To Argentina and Beyond: El Gran Astor
On this program hear The Eight Seasons of Piazzolla and Vivaldi, which pairs The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Asto Piazzolla with each appropriate "Season" by Antonio Vivaldi.
Episode 106 - The Journey of the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra
2008 marked the inaugural, national annual tour of the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, comprised of top alumni of the Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players. In this episode, hear a performance from that tour recorded in a packed-to-capacity Longy Conservatory of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Selections include music from Mozat, Piazzolo, Villa-Lobos, Marsalis and others.
Episode 107 - The Finals Concert of the 12th annual Sphinx Competition.
January 2008: Three stellar young musicians compete for a ten thousand-dollar grand prize, performing with the professional, all-African American Sphinx Symphony Orchestra at Detroit’s historic Orchestra Hall, under the direction of conductor Damon Gupton—who is also a native of Detroit!
The 2009 Laureates, in the order you will hear them are: cellist Tony Rymer playing the Elgar Cello Concerto; bassist Benjamin Harris playing Bottessini’s Bass Concerto in B Minor; and violinist John Sanderson playing Saint Saens’ Violin Concerto in B Minor.
Also hear special guests - and acclaimed Sphinx alumni - violinists Elena Urioste and Melissa White, who perform Prokofiev’s Sonata for two solo violins, followed by Huapango by Moncayo.