Samford’s Davis Architects Guest Artist Series and The Birmingham Chamber Music Society (BCMS) will present The Ritz Chamber Players Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Brock Recital Hall. The ensemble also will be working with central Alabama students at a variety of schools Feb. 26-28.
Comprised solely of accomplished musicians spanning the African diaspora, The Ritz Chamber Players are dedicated to showcasing the works of African-American composers.
The ensemble brings a fresh new energy to the classical music genre, and its individual members also perform with prestigious organizations, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and the London Symphony.
In addition to the public concert at Samford, the Ritz Chamber Players will lead a three-part special residency during their stay in Birmingham. This outreach will include master classes for students from Samford, Miles College and the University of Alabama-Birmingham; a mini-concert and master-class for students at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and Ramsay High School; and mini-concerts at Greenwood Elementary School in Bessemer, The ARC of Jefferson County and the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega.
The Birmingham outreach is similar to what the Ritz Chamber Players have undertaken in their Jacksonville, Fla., home. Such efforts are an expression of the ensemble’s mission to "foster the appreciation of chamber music through performances and educational outreach featuring preeminent African-American musicians and composers, with an emphasis on building audiences and arts inclusion that reflects our diverse society."
The Samford concert will feature compositions by Mozart, Brahms, Ravel, James Lee and a string quartet by Charles Norman Mason commissioned by BCMS for the Ritz in honor of Dr. Ted Tibbs, a celebrated Birmingham organist and Samford faculty member who passed away in 2010. Mason is Chair of the Composition and Theory department at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.