At age 16, violinist Kyle Lombard made his solo debut with the Kansas City Symphony. In the years since, Lombard — a faculty member in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis — has performed throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East, and emerged as a regular member of the Ritz Chamber Players.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, the Ritz Chamber Players — one of the finest African-American chamber ensembles touring today — will make their St. Louis debut in Washington University’s E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall.
Tickets are $20, or $15 for seniors and Washington University faculty and staff, $10 for students and children, and free for WashU students. The E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall is located in the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave.
A remarkable ensemble
Hailed as “one of the most interesting and dynamic ensembles to emerge in recent years” (Baltimore Sun), the Ritz Chamber Players were founded in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2002 by clarinetist and artistic director Terrance Patterson. The group takes its name from The Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum, a historic landmark of Jacksonville’s century-old LaVilla district — sometimes known as the “Harlem of the South.” Members are committed to fostering “multicultural audiences that reflect our diverse society.”
The Feb. 16 program will open with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Flute Quartet No. 1 in D. Major, followed by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s “Movement for String Trio,” Camille Saint–Saëns’ “Fantaisie” for violin and harp, and Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. The program will conclude with four works by Astor Piazzolla: “Ave Maria (Tanti Anni Prima),” “Escualo,” “Libertango” and “Tanguango.”
In addition to Lombard, the performance will feature legendary harpist Ann Hobson Pilot. In 1966, Pilot joined the Washington National Symphony, making her the first African-American female principal player in an American symphony orchestra. Three years later, she joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra and served as principal harp from 1980 until her retirement in 2009. Her numerous recordings include, most recently, “Piazzolla: Esculo” (2015) and “On Willows and Birches” (2011).
Rounding out the ensemble will be: flutist Demarre McGill, a founding member of The Myriad Trio who has appeared on PBS’ “Live From Lincoln Center” and A&E’s “The Gifted Ones”; violist Orlando Wells, who has worked with such artists as John Legend, Kanye West and Sojourner Strings; and Tahirah Whittington, a member of the acclaimed Core Ensemble who has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and the Ann Arbor Symphony in Michigan, among others.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement and Institutional Diversity provided funding support.