Friday, November 16, 2007

The Ritz Chamber Players, Accomplished Musicians Of African Descent

[Photos courtesy of The Ritz Chamber Players; Terrance Patterson, Artistic Director]

The Ritz Chamber Players is “the nation’s first chamber music ensemble series comprised solely of accomplished musicians spanning the African diaspora”. It was founded in 2002 by Artistic Director, Terrance Patterson, who plays clarinet. The group's website is Excerpts from reviews of its performances include:

A remarkable ensemble” The Baltimore Sun

Riveting” Classical Voice of North Carolina

Irresistible” The Baltimore Sun

Phenomenal” The Florida Times-Union

Members of the Ritz Chamber Players are accomplished musicians who perform with major orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and London Symphony. The ensemble describes itself as follows:

Founded in 2002 by Artistic Director and Clarinetist Terrance Patterson, the Ritz Chamber Players performs a subscription series at the Times-Union Center for the Performance Arts in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2004, the Ritz Chamber Players made their Carnegie Hall debut to a standing room only crowd, with critics proclaiming the group’s performance 'extraordinary' and 'vital and fresh.' In 2005, they made their international radio debut with the BBC, and, in 2006, performed before a national television audience on the 37th Annual NAACP Image Awards, and continual performances as part of the Madison and Amelia Island Chamber Music Festivals.

About the Ritz Chamber Players

The Ritz Chamber Players performs a complete concert season that showcases works from African American composers as well as the standard classical repertoire, offering the Jacksonville community the opportunity to witness world-class performances by black chamber musicians as well as experience the thrill of world premieres.

Each performer has a successful musical career in addition to his or her work with the Ritz Chamber Players. Members have performed with artists ranging from Placido Domingo to Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” and from the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, and Philadelphia Orchestra to the London Symphony, and in cities worldwide. It is an unfettered love for chamber music that brings this ensemble together each season to perform as the Ritz Chamber Players.

About the Artists

Terrance Patterson – Clarinet, Founder and Artistic Director

A Jacksonville, Florida, native, Terrance Patterson has performed in Paris, London, Milan, Brussels, Belgrade, Munich, Amsterdam, Moscow, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Miami, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York. He plays with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Sphinx Symphony of Detroit and the Nashville, Florida West Coast, Huntsville, Festival, and Las Vegas Symphonies. He attended the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with clarinetist Lorin Kitt, principal clarinetist of the National Symphony Orchestra.

Tai Murray – Violin

Since making her debut with the Chicago Symphony at age eight, violinist Tai Murray has performed extensively as a soloist with orchestras across the United States and Europe. She has performed at the Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl, Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall, and Chicago’s Mandel Hall. Concerto performances include appearances with the Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Utah and Washington, D.C., Symphonies. Murray was the only solo artist invited by the Chicago Symphony to perform in the Rotunda of Chicago’s Symphony Center during its Inaugural Festival. She holds an Artist Diploma in music performance from Indiana University and is a graduate of the Juilliard School where she studied under Joel Smirnoff.

Amadi Hummings – Viola

When it comes to classical music, violist Amadi Hummings has just about done it all. A world-class musician, Hummings performed at the U.S. Supreme Court and has toured around the world, including Israel, Canada, South America, Central America, India, Japan and throughout the Caribbean. He has been a guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York and of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” “St. Paul Sunday,” and on WNYC in New York. Hummings is also Director of Program Development for the Gateways Music Festival. He is presently Professor of Viola at James Madison University.

Tahirah Whittington – Cello

Cellist Tahirah Whittington, originally from Houston, Texas, has performed for audiences in the United States, Chile, Japan, France, Italy, and Spain. Her solo performances have included appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and the Ann Arbor Symphony in Michigan, as a result of winning first prize at the 1999 Sphinx Competition. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Whittington is a member of the acclaimed Core Ensemble (piano, cello, percussion) that tours with an actor and performs Chamber Music Theater. She is also a member of the Ritz Chamber Players based in Jacksonville, Fla. Ms. Whittington received her Master of Music in cello performance from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Joel Krosnick and received her Bachelor of Music at the New England Conservatory as a student of Laurence Lesser.

Terrence Wilson – Piano

Since his professional debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra, American pianist Terrence Wilson has established a reputation as one of today's most gifted young instrumentalists. He has already appeared with many other prestigious ensembles including the Houston Symphony under Christoph Eschenbach, the Atlanta Symphony under Yoel Levi, the Cincinnati Symphony under Robert Spano, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne under Jesus Lopez-Cobos, the Detroit Symphony under Neeme Järvi, the St Louis and Colorado Symphonies under Marin Alsop, the Minnesota orchestra, and the Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Columbus Symphonies. He has also made highly acclaimed recital debuts in New York, at the 92nd Street Y, in Washington, at the Kennedy Centre, and in Paris, at the Louvre. In 1998 Mr. Wilson was awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant and in May 2001 he graduated from the Juilliard School where he received the prestigious Sony ES Award for Musical Excellence and most recently the William Petschek Award.

The Ritz Chamber Players have had several talented Composers-in-Residence, including Jonathan Bailey Holland (2006-2007), Tania Justina León (2004-2005), Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork (2003-2004), Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (2002-2003) and Alvin Singleton (2002-2003). All have been the subject of profiles in either or AfriClassical Blog.

2007-2008 Concert Schedule

Opening Concert - Thursday, December 6, 2007

In Remembrance of the Dream – Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spring Concert - Thursday, April 3, 2008

Season Finale – Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ritz Chamber Players Listening Room
Hear a doze
n audio samples of the ensemble in performance of works by Bach, Dohnanyi, Dvorak, Handel, Mozart, Ravel, Saint-Saens and Tchaikovsky.

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classical+music" rel="tag">classical music
African+American" rel="tag">African American
Black+Musicians" rel="tag">Black Musicians
Jacksonville+Florida" rel="tag">Jacksonville Florida
chamber+music" rel="tag">chamber music

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