Introduction to Theatre
“Black Violin works hard, but makes it all look like play Sometimes they play with the intense seriousness of orchestral soloists; at others they fiddle as if at a hoedown; at still others they strum the violin and viola like guitars.” (N.Y. Times, n.d.)
The group Black Violin was founded roughly a decade ago in 2003. It is led by Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester. They are classically-trained viola and violin players who first met playing in their high school orchestra in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After graduation from college, they worked with many different hip-hop acts through studios in South Florida. Afterwards, they refocused on their original concept of fusing classical music with hip-hop. (Black Violin, n.d.)
Their genre of music is a blend of classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B, and bluegrass. They are particularly proud of their ability to blend “highbrow” music with popular culture and consider their efforts to be groundbreaking. (Black Violin, n.d.) Many people seem to agree.
They have played for many different audiences, including the troops in Iraq, the official President’s Inaugural Ball and the Kids Inaugural in Washington, D.C. They were particularly proud to have received personal acknowledgement from the President and the First Lady. (Black Violin, n.d.) Black Violin has also “headlined 40 shows in two stints at the New Victory Theater on Broadway, including 16 sold-out shows over two weeks last November. Along the way, they’ve wowed audiences at the legendary Harlem Apollo Theatre, accompanied Alicia Keys’ performance of “Karma” at the 2004 Billboard Awards, and appeared with Gym Class Heroes and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump playing the hit song, “Stereo Hearts,” for VH1’s Unplugged.” (Black Violin, n.d.) Black Violin performs an average of 200 shows per year. They have done so in 49 states and 36 countries, including Dubai, Prague and South Africa. They have appeared at NFL celebrations and the U.S. open. They have opened for Fat Joe, Akon and the Wu-Tang Clan. “Individually and together, Black Violin has collaborated with the likes of P. Diddy, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and The Eagles. Kev supplied strings for a track on Lupe Fiasco’s Grammy-nominated Food & Liquor 2 album, and appeared on the Meek Mill cut “Maybach Curtains” with John Legend, Rick Ross and Nas. Wil and Kev also scored an episode of CSI: New York, adapting the finale of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly for an on-screen murder.” (Black Violin, n.d.)
Despite all of these appearances and accomplishments, the due maintains a strong commitment to young people, making many appearances every year at high schools to inspire students to pursue their dreams in music—or whatever passion will drive them to succeed. Their music has also broadened the tastes of the young and helped them to develop an appreciation for classical music.
Their style of performance might be considered mellow in the opinion of many. There is not a great deal of theatrics. They make their music in a very simple and empowered way. The energy that they bring to the stage comes through their instruments—it resonates loudly. Despite this subdued approach, their audience works itself up into a frenzy with great enthusiasm. It is the modesty of Black Violin that makes their music so appealing. Their fans certainly agree.
As for the future, they plan to continue touring and inspiring youth. With such a dynamic ability to blend a variety of musical genres, their future looks very bright.
Reflections on the Class – Introduction to Theater
Introduction to Theater was an interesting class. I enjoyed it very much. It was interesting to learn how productions were put together. It was also nice to learn about different types of theater.
In particular, I liked ____________________.
I will be able to use ______________________ from the class toward my goal of becoming __________________ in the future.
Unfortunately, _____________________ didn’t really appeal to me.
I think you could improve the class by _________________________.
_______________________ should definitely be retained as it was my favorite part of the class.
(n.a., n.d.) The New York Times.
Black Violin, (2014), Date accessed: November 26, 2014. Black Violin Bio, http://blackviolin.net/bio/.