Thursday, March 31: My friend here in Portland, Maine, had a couple of extra tickets to a chamber concert at the Merrill Auditorium. Certainly I wasn’t going to turn that down! Sphinx Virtuosi, a professional chamber orchestra comprised of 18 of the nation’s top Black and Latinx classical soloists, performed; their mission is to bring people of color in to the professional classical music orbit. I believe it’s the first time I’ve seen a performance where all those playing violins and violas were standing, often dancing in place – there was a good reason why all of these musicians are thin! Composers (all Latin American or Black) were born between 1875 and 1994; there was a pretty even mix of genders among the musicians, and a wide range of skin tones. And they were GOOD! Self-conducted, they really have their act together. And if you want a sample, Google them – there’s a lot on line.
Portland City Hall was around the corner from where we parked, shining in the rain.