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September 10, 2018

Bassist Benjamin Harris to Tour with Sphinx Virtuosi


Double bassist Benjamin Harris

Double bassist Benjamin Harris, a first-year master’s student from Xalapa, Mexico, will tour with the 18-member Sphinx Virtuosi chamber orchestra this fall.  

2018 marks Harris’ third tour with the Virtuosi. He says: “The tour is quite a challenging experience as a performer, at least in my instrument…there is a lot of responsibility involved because we are only two bass players supporting and holding together the whole ensemble.” 

“I really enjoy it,” he continues. “For me, it’s a passion to walk on stage and perform. It really, truly is a collaboration because everybody contributes to the rehearsal process; there is openness and involvement from every single member of the group.” The ensemble is comprised of the nation’s top Black and Latinx classical soloists, primarily alumni of the distinguished Sphinx Competition, who come together each fall as cultural ambassadors to reach new audiences. 

Harris first became involved with the Sphinx Organization when he won second place in the senior division of the Sphinx Competition in 2009. The competition offers young Black and Latinx classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally-renowned panel of judges and to perform with established professional musicians in a competition setting. Its primary goals are to encourage, develop and recognize classical music talent in the Black and Latinx communities. 

Harris completed his undergraduate degree at Juilliard in 2012, then returned to Mexico for a year with the National Symphony. He then spent four years as a tenured member of the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra. He began his master’s studies at CIM this fall, where he studies with The Cleveland Orchestra’s Scott Dixon.