It was 1958 when the late W. Hazaiah Williams presented Marian Anderson, his first venture into the concert world, which he continued until his death in 1999. On October 4, 7:30pm, Four Season’s Concerts will open their 50Th season (Today’s Artists/Four Seasons) with the Ritz Chamber Players, America’s first chamber ensemble comprised solely of artists with roots in the African Diaspora. The four musicians include some of the world’s most accomplished musicians: Terrance Patterson, Clarinet, Kyle Lombard, Violin, Troy Stuart, Cello and Kevin Sharpe, Piano. Praised for the “fresh, new energy” they bring to the classical genre, they performed for the NAACP image awards in 2006, Carnegie Hall Debut in 2004 (sold out), and International Radio debut with the BBC in 2005. They’ve performed with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Pittsburg Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, to name a few. Currently, just 1.5 percent of professional classical musicians in the U.S. are African American, according to the American Symphony Orchestra League. Patterson, Artistic Director of the Ritz Players says, “Today, as music education programs struggle for funding, and radio stations increasingly shift to all-talk formats, I fear that young people, especially African Americans, won’t receive early exposure to classical music. It makes our job that much more important.” The Ritz Players do extensive outreach to historically black college campuses. They often have a “resident” African-American composer present as they introduce their work at their concerts. Their Oakland performance, at Holy Name’s Regent Theatre, will typify their standard concert programs highlighting works of contemporary African American Composers as well as standard classical repertoire. To participate in this historical occasion order your tickets at FourSeasonsConcerts.com, or call (510)534-5221. Tickets are $30-$40. Holy Names University’s Regents Theatre is located at 3500 Mountain Blvd., in Oakland.
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