Black Violin Comes to Vermont

Black ViolinWhile hip hop and classical music may seem worlds apart, Black Violin is sure that both are meant to bring people together. The Barre Opera House welcomes the genre-busters on Thursday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the 2018-19 TD Bank Celebration Series.

High-energy, classically trained musicians renowned for their ability to meld highbrow and pop culture into a single act, Black Violin mines the synergy among classical, jazz, blues, R&B, and hip-hop. With millions of YouTube followers, virtuoso violinists Kev Marcus (Kevin Sylvester) and Wil B (Wilner Baptiste), plus TK, their masterful accompanying DJ and drummer Matt Stokes, are redefining the music world, one string at a time. Part maestro, part emcee, this revolutionary group, declared one of the “hottest bands of SXSW,” encourages audiences to look at things from a different perspective, to show what can happen when you color way outside the lines.

Baptiste puts it this way: “They had little shindigs going on back in the days, right? They needed music. So just think of it that way. Like, I’m this guy, I own this big palace — “Mozart – listen, what can you whip up, man? I need some new tunes.’ “

“So it’s the same kind of thing with hip-hop,” Sylvester offers. “It’s just like, I need Grandmaster Flash to DJ my party. You know, hip-hop and classical, in a lot of ways, are both party music for different eras.”

The band’s most recent record, Stereotypes, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Chart and #4 on the Billboard R&B Chart. NPR praised the album and band, saying “their music will keep classical music alive for the next generation.”

Wil and Kev place heavy emphasis on educational outreach, and have performed for more than 100,000 students in North American and Europe in the past twelve months. Black Violin was the featured musical act for the Blue Ribbon Festival at the Music Center in Los Angeles where they performed for 19,000 fifth grade students from the Greater Los Angeles area over a three-day period and, alongside artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Elton John, they recently joined with Turnaround Arts to bring arts education to struggling schools in underserved communities.

The Barre Opera House will also offer a student matinee at 1 p.m. on the 25th for area schools and homeschoolers and Green Mountain Youth Symphony will join Black Violin on stage for the evening performance.

Black Violin has shared stages with top names including Kanye West, Aerosmith and Tom Petty, and has creatively collaborated with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Wyclef Jean and Alicia Keys.

Tickets for Black Violin are $27-47, with discounts for members, seniors, students and the disabled – order online at or call the Barre Opera House at 802-476-8188. The Opera House is handicapped accessible and equipped for the hearing impaired.

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