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April 14, 2017

UMS in the Classroom: Sphinx Virtuosi


Interested in using a UMS performance in your university classroom? For each performance on the season, we provide suggested curricular connections, links to contextual material online, citations for scholarly material, and prompts for classroom discussion. For additional resources and individualized curricular support, please contact Shannon Fitzsimons Moen, UMS Campus Engagement Specialist, at or (734) 764-3903.

UMS is also committed to making our performances an affordable part of the academic experience. Our Classroom Ticket Program provides $15 tickets to students and faculty for performances that are a course requirement. Please email to set up a group order.


This performance may connect meaningfully with courses in the following schools and disciplines:

  • Afroamerican and African Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • American Culture
  • English Language and Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Composition
  • Music Education
  • Musicology
  • Voice
  • Winds & Percussion
  • Art & Design


  • Learn more about The Sphinx Organization through their official website.
  • Listen to this interview with Sphinx Organization founder (and current dean of U-M’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance) Aaron Dworkin about the ongoing diversity challenges in the classical music world.
  • Composer Jimmy Lopez shares his music on his official website.


  • The 18-member group performs a collection of concerti from the baroque era to the modern day, all without a conductor. What potential challenges does this present?
  • A Concerto Grosso is a musical composition for a group of solo instruments—rather than a lone soloist—accompanied by an orchestra. This term generally applies to 18th century baroque works of this form, but the Sphinx Virtuosi will be performing two modern Concerto Grossi by Ralph Vaughn Williams and Jimmy Lopez. Describe the musical relationship between the soloists and the accompaniment. How do these modern works compare to the Vivaldi Concerto for Four Violins and Cello in B minor, which more closely resembles the traditional concerto grosso form?
  • The Sphinx Organization is dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Why is this mission especially important today?