“Delights and Dances is a compelling kaleidoscope.” As the Sphinx Virtuosi return to Carnegie Hall on October 13, Afa S. Dworkin, President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization, celebrates its own commissioned-work written by Michael Abels. The New York performance is just one concert among many of the ensemble’s 2017 fall tour which began last month in Miami at the New World Center Performance Hall.
Abels (a Sphinx composer himself) composed the 13-minute piece to highlight the 10th anniversary of the Sphinx Competition, as well as the organization’s mission of promoting the works of Black and Latino composers. Delights and Dances was originally scored for full orchestra with a varied group of string soloists; however, Abels later revised the three-movement piece for string orchestra and string quartet. The revised version premiered in 2007 as part of the Sphinx Laureates Concert at Carnegie Hall.
Dworkin continues. “[The work is full] of genres and moods, ranging from jazz, blues, bluegrass and classical. When we envisioned this work more than a decade ago, Michael was able to create the sound and feel that far exceeded our hopes…from its free-spirited tribute to improvisation, [and] to its range, Delights and Dances is a quintessentially American masterpiece.”