Sphinx Virtuosi’s nine-city tour gets underway

Posted on: October 12, 2021

The Sphinx Virtuosi perform at Carnegie Hall in 2017.

“Even if the Sphinx Virtuosi weren’t a group of gifted artists, bassist Benjamin Harris and violinist Ruben Rengel would still be traveling with them,” writes Zachary Lewis in Monday’s (10/10) Plain Dealer (Cleveland). “That’s because both feel a debt of gratitude to the Sphinx Organization … the renowned Detroit-based advocate for diversity in classical music. Sphinx’s … nine-city tour … includes Cleveland on Oct. 12…. Neither Harris nor Rengel would be a Virtuosi at all if they hadn’t earned prizes at the Sphinx Competition, the prestigious national contest for young Black and Latinx musicians, from whose ranks the elite, 18-member chamber orchestra primarily draws. Harris won in 2009; Rengel in 2018…. For Rengel, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, it boosted him onto the world stage as a soloist. Last week he was with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra…. In their opinion, the Sphinx players are some of the best and most interesting programmers…. They’re touring with … a truly eclectic program drawing attention to such older trailblazers as Alberto Ginastera, Florence Price, and Samuel Coleridge Taylor and introducing newer names with ‘Ev’ry Voice’ by Xavier Foley and Jessie Montgomery’s ‘Banner,’ a rhapsody on the theme of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ ”