Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State


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Sphinx Virtuosi, one of the nation’s most dynamic professional orchestras, consists of eighteen classical soloists. The musicians are alumni of Detroit’s internationally acclaimed Sphinx Competition, which provides educational and performance opportunities to Black and Latino musicians. The orchestra’s Carnegie Hall premiere earned rave reviews. The performance was “first-rate in every way,” writes a New York Times critic. Catalyst Quartet, whose members perform as a chamber ensemble and as principal musicians in Sphinx Virtuosi, made its central Pennsylvania debut last season as part of a residency at Penn State. Members of Sphinx Virtuosi have performed as soloists with America’s major ensembles, including New York Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Pittsburgh. Members also hold professional orchestral positions. Several players have been named laureates of other prestigious competitions, including the Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin.

Artist website: Sphinx Virtuosi

1Project Events

Community Welcome Dinner for Sphinx Musicians

6 p.m. Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Eisenhower Auditorium stage
Not open to the public

Penn State’s Essence of Joy and musicians from the Sphinx Virtuosi will engage in a musical exchange as part of welcome dinner festivities. Penn State Alumni Association, Educational Equity, Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity, and Center for the Performing Arts sponsor the two-hour event.

Arts Entrepreneurship Class Visit

9:05 a.m. Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Not open to the public

Four Sphinx Virtuosi musicians will stop by Jonathan Gangi’s Penn State course to share their experiences as developing artists and key components of sustainable creative and business practices.

Altoona Area High School Visit

11:15 a.m. Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Not open to the public

Altoona students will perform sections of work they’re learning and receive feedback and demonstrations from a group of Sphinx Virtuosi musicians.

Lunch with Honors

Noon Wednesday, September 28, 2016
W023 Pattee Library
Not open to the public

Sphinx Virtuosi musicians will speak with Paterno Fellows students from various majors about their experiences as artists of color and their work with the Sphinx orchestra.

coolBlue Concert and Conversation

1 p.m. Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center Courtyard

The public is invited to hear a quartet of Sphinx Virtuosi musicians perform a brief concert. The one-hour session also includes conversation with the musicians and light refreshments.

A Conversation with Sphinx Musicians and Tim Melbinger

3 p.m. Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Penn State Altoona
Misciagna Family Center Titelman Study

A group of Sphinx Virtuosi musicians will participate in a public forum, Marginalized Communities and the Arts, led by Penn State Altoona faculty member Tim Melbinger. The musicians will perform excerpts from their repertoire and take part in a conversation about access to the arts in minority communities.

An Evening with Sphinx Virtuosi

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Penn State Altoona
Misciagna Family Center Wolf-Kuhn Theatre

The Sphinx Virtuosi orchestra performs selections from its repertoire.

Free tickets, required for the evening concert, are available at the Misciagna Box Office, Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or at the door. Free parking is available after 3 p.m. in the Misciagna lot. For more information, phone the box office at 814-949-5452.

Human Resources Class Visit

10:35 a.m. Thursday, September 29, 2016
Not open to the public

Sphinx Virtuosi musicians will meet with Penn State students working on a capstone human resources project. Students will have an opportunity to ask questions about artist experiences working on diversity initiatives.

African American Studies 100 Class Visit

12:05 p.m. Thursday, September 29, 2016
Not open to the public

Members of Sphinx Virtuosi will take part in a discussion with students in Living While Black: Themes in African American Thought and Experience, a Penn State course on what it means to be Black in America. They will engage with questions about identity and authenticity, freedom and unfreedom, radicalism and reform, gender and sexuality, and the role of music in African American life.

Latin Voyages: Viajes Latinos

7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 29, 2016
Schwab Auditorium

Latin Voyages: Viajes Latinos, the ensemble’s fall 2016 tour, takes audiences on a journey that includes zesty Argentine tango, nocturnal images of Mexico, and a tribute to the great Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla. The program invites listeners to explore the great palette of the string medium through the prism of celebrated and lesser-known composers. The music, which celebrates the intricate mosaic of sounds and colors of the diverse Latin heritage, includes works by Alberto Williams, Javier Álvarez, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Cesar Espejo, Osvaldo Golijov, Alberto Ginastera, and, of course, Piazzolla.


Adult $42  |  University Park Student $15  |  18 and Younger $32

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Pieter W. and Lida Ouwehand

media sponsor


Complimentary round-trip shuttle service is provided between the Eisenhower Parking Deck and Schwab. Board the shuttle in the area between the parking deck and the Eisenhower Auditorium rear loading dock. The first shuttle leaves Eisenhower at 6:05 p.m., followed by others every twenty minutes until 7:05 p.m. After the concert, the shuttle makes as many trips as necessary to return riders to Eisenhower.

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