Categories
Summer 2022

JUN 4 | Black Violin

JUN 4 | 8 PM


Led by classically trained string players Wil B. (viola) and Kev Marcus (violin), Black Violin keeps “classical music alive for the next generation” (NPR). With influences ranging from Bach to Jay-Z, the group’s unique blend of classical and hip-hop breaks down stereotypes and encourages people of all ages, races, and backgrounds to come together. Black Violin is joined by gospel legends and Grammy Award-winners the Blind Boys of Alabama.

BLACK VIOLIN

For 17 years, Black Violin has been merging string arrangements with modern beats and vocals and building bridges in communities along the way. Members Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste first met in orchestra class at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, becoming classically trained on the violin and viola through their high school and college careers. Post-college, they reconvened to produce beats for South Florida rappers, and began building an audience in local clubs. They later went on to win Showtime at the Apollo in 2005, and eventually sold out headline performances at venues across the country, including a sold out two-night headline run at The Kennedy Center in 2018. NPR took note and declared “their music will keep classical music alive for the next generation.” Black Violin’s latest release, Take the Stairs (2019), earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.

Pre-pandemic, Black Violin was playing over 200 shows a year (many of these are performances for young low-income students in urban communities – in the last year alone, the group played for over 100,000 students) with the goal of challenging stereotypes and preconceived notions of what a “classical musician” looks and sounds like. “The stereotypes are always there, embedded so deep in our culture,” says Baptiste. “Just by nature of our existence we challenge those ideas. It’s a unique thing that brings people together who aren’t usually in the same room, and in the current climate, it’s good to bring people together.”

Last year, the group launched the Black Violin Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth by providing access to quality music programs in their community. Black Violin Foundation believes that music and access to music programs should not be determined by race, gender, or socio-economic status. Black Violin Foundation’s inaugural program the Musical Innovation Grant for Continuing Education will provide scholarships to young music students to attend a program of their liking that fosters musical creativity and innovation.

BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA

The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. Celebrated by The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Recording Academy with Lifetime Achievement Awards, inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and winners of five Grammy Awards, they have attained the highest levels of achievement in a career that spans over 70 years.

The Blind Boys are known for crossing multiple musical boundaries with their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material by songwriters such as Eric Clapton, Prince, and Tom Waits. They have appeared on recordings with many artists including Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Susan Tedeschi, Ben Harper, Patty Griffin, and Taj Mahal. The Blind Boys of Alabama have also appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night, The Grammy Awards, 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and many other television shows.


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SPECIAL THANKS TO
Dan and Gayle D’Aniello,
Wolf Trap 2022 Season Underwriters