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Aja Burrell Wood

National nonprofit organization founded in 1996 by University of Michigan graduates Aaron P(aul) Dworkin and Carrie Chester. Dworkin and Chester sought to increase cultural diversity in the field of classical music and simultaneously overcome cultural stereotypes. The mission of the organization is, first, to increase the participation of blacks and Latinos as students in music schools, as professional musicians, and as classical music audiences; and second, to administer youth development initiatives in underserved communities through music education and by providing high-quality musical instruments.

The Sphinx Competition, a cornerstone program, began in 1998 as an annual string competition for black and Latino classical string players, from junior high through college, who compete for prizes and scholarships. The organization has since expanded to include an additional 13 professional, educational, community outreach, and performance initiatives under their Artist Development, Sphinx Prep, Sphinx Performance Academy, Sphinx Legacy Project, and Sphinx Presents programs. Sphinx also currently maintains three ensembles comprised of critically acclaimed professionals: The Sphinx Symphony, Sphinx Virtuosi, and Catalyst Quartet. The organization also regularly commissions, programs, and archives works by black and Latino composers....

Article

Hugh Davies

(b Kansas City, MO, Jan 23, 1940). American artist and educator, co-founder in 1989 and artistic director of Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles. He holds a BA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from the University of Cincinnati. Working in Los Angeles since 1976 he has built several instruments, based on the hurdy-gurdy principle, which he plays in solo performances and in duets with his wife, Gail Bates. The first was a drone instrument (1976), in which a bow operated by a pendulum moves across a string. The Fuser (1978) uses a similar idea: each note on its two 40-note keyboards operates a ‘finger’ at a different point along the length of one of two strings, which are bowed by treadle-operated, rosined wheels. The hollow tubing of the framework adds to the effect of two dome-shaped resonators, one at each end of the instrument. Two people play the Fuser, which measures about 3.5 × 1 × 1.25 metres. The Converter (prototype ...