The Sphinx Virtuosi is a dynamic and inspiring professional self-conducted chamber orchestra that serves as the flagship performing entity of the Sphinx Organization—the leading social justice non-profit dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Comprising 18 accomplished Black and Latinx artists, the Sphinx Virtuosi evolves and transforms the face of classical music through artistic excellence, pioneering programming and impassioned community engagement. Its members serve as cultural and diversity ambassadors for audiences and communities around the U.S. and abroad. Since 2004, the Sphinx Virtuosi’s concerts have been presented by leading arts organizations, including annual visits to Carnegie Hall. The ensemble’s debut album, Songs for Our Times, was released on Deutsche Grammophon in July 2023 and represents the rich history of the Sphinx Organization and the vibrant future of classical music by centering the artistry of extraordinary composers and artistic visionaries of color.
Heralded for their kaleidoscopically varied repertoire and bold thematic programming, Sphinx Virtuosi concerts give prominence to historically excluded Black and Latinx composers. In an effort to expand its repertoire and engage new audiences, the ensemble commissions new works annually from composers such as Michael Abels, Terence Blanchard, Valerie Coleman, Xavier Foley, Ricardo Herz, Jimmy Lopez, Jessie Montgomery, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Carlos Simon. Members of the Sphinx Virtuosi have performed as soloists with major American orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. Members also hold professional orchestral and academic positions.
The Sphinx Virtuosi’s community engagement initiatives regularly extend beyond masterclasses and workshops to members leading diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives within arts organizations and connecting with other Sphinx programming to further the mission of achieving excellence through diversity. As a bilingual ensemble, these artist-citizens frequently break down existing barriers empowering the art form to connect with the broader community. The Sphinx Virtuosi has collaborated with major artists such as Terence Blanchard, Denyce Graves, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Damien Sneed, Will Liverman, J’Nai Bridges and Davóne Tines. Outside of the classical realm, the ensemble’s musicians have also worked with leading international artists such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and made high-profile appearances including on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and the broadcast of the 2022 Grammy Awards. Their 2023-24 season includes performances for Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Denver Friends of Chamber Music, Stanford Live, and a return performance at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Sphinx Virtuosi members performing with the Minnesota Orchestra from February 1-3 are as follows.
Meredith Riley Concertmaster
Clayton D Penrose-Whitmore Principal
Robert Alvarado Switala Principal
Eri Snowden-Rodriguez Principal
Jonathan Colbert Principal