Sphinx Virtuosi to feature solo cellist


Andrea Casarrubios’ “Seven” is striking a chord with concert audiences.

The Sphinx Virtuosi concert program features a cello solo performance by Cuban American cellist Thomas Mesa of “Seven.” The piece was commissioned by Mesa. Casarrubios made it a tribute to the essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to those who died or are still suffering from the crisis.

Sphinx Virtuosi, a professional chamber orchestra comprised of 18 of the nation’s top Black and Latinx classical soloists, will perform at 8 p.m. March 19 at The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

The piece is one of three Mesa commissioned to three different composers.


“It was about their experience during the pandemic. I gave them free rein to what they wanted to do,” Mesa said. “Each wrote something fairly different. The title ‘Seven’ comes from the time that people would go to the windows and clap for the essential workers. It has been an absolute hit. There are cellists all over the country playing this piece due to her music is so incredible. People are really taking to it. Andrea is a cellist herself. It’s a very touching and emotional piece.”

The piece ends with seven bell-like sounds, alluding to New York City’s daily tribute during the lockdown.

“Carlos Simon’s piece was tied into not just the situation with the pandemic but the situation with all of the social issues, with the Black Lives Matter protests,” Mesa said.

Mesa said Stephanie Ann Boyd’s piece is similar to Casarrubios in that it was inspired by Boyd’s experiences during the lockdown in New York City. Mesa plans to debut the other two pieces in May.

Mesa has been a member of Sphinx Virtuosi since 2016 after being the first-place winner in the renowned Sphinx Competition that year.

“Ever since then, I’ve had a lot of good solo opportunities with them,” he said. “My relationship with Sphinx is wonderful. We’re kind of like a family. We’re really bonded together. We have a lot of fun together. We’re just really happy to be on tour together.”

Mesa has curated a concert program that will be performed by the Indianapolis Symphony on March 26. He will be the soloist.


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