Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra partners with Sphinx Organization to present Martin University Night

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) continues its partnership with the Sphinx Organization to present Martin University Night at the ISO for an enchanting evening of chamber music at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2022. Working with the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, a national nonprofit dedicated to developing young Black and Latinx classical musicians, the collaboration brings Sphinx artists and ISO musicians together for an annual series of chamber and orchestral music at locations throughout Indianapolis. The project is made possible through the generous support of the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation.

The Feb. 16 performance honors Martin University and its commitment to creating opportunities for students in an inclusive environment. In alignment with the ISO’s goals of promoting diversity, inclusivity, equity and belonging in the classical music experience, the program will explore undiscovered classical works curated by cellist and Sphinx musician Thomas Mesa. Through the ISO’s Unheard Voices initiative, the 2021-22 season celebrates contemporary and historical composers whose works are often underrepresented in orchestras today. The Sphinx program, along with the full spring repertoire, features composers who authentically represent their unique culture, exploring the human condition through the universal language of music.

The concert features Sphinx musicians including cellist Thomas Mesa, pianist Albert Cano-Smit, violinist Rainel Joubert and JP Jofre on the bandoneon. The program includes Meditation by Florence Price, who was the first Black woman to have her music performed by a major U.S. orchestra, along with the lively and melodic The Bamboula by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, violin works by Joubert and bandoneon works by JP Jofre. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Registration is required. “The ISO is thrilled to welcome Martin University to be part of this exciting initiative with the Sphinx Organization as we celebrate Black History Month,” said James M. Johnson, CEO, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. “The Sphinx partnership brings diverse voices to the ISO and engages orchestra musicians and concert artists whose voices are underrepresented in classical music. We are grateful to the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation for their generous support of this program, which is connecting our audiences with Black and Latinx musicians whose talents deserve wide recognition.” “We salute and say thank you to the ISO for its Martin University Night and partnership with the Sphinx Organization through support of the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation,” said Dr. Sean L. Huddleston, President of Martin University and a member of the ISO Board of Directors. “Expanding the cultural experience of our students is very important to us at Martin, and we appreciate this partnership promoting diversity, inclusivity, and equity to a broader audience through classical music.”

About the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, at home and thriving in the heart of Indianapolis, offers an exceptional artistic and musical experience. The orchestra is open to all and dedicated to creating an inclusive and innovative experiential environment that is inspiring, educational, and welcoming. The ISO celebrates historically beloved performances while engaging audiences by introducing new voices through programming including the DeHaan Classical Series, the Printing Partners Pops Series, the holiday traditions of AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration and the popular Bank of America Film Series. For more information, visit

About the Sphinx Organization The Sphinx Organization is the social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Sphinx’s four program areas – Education & Access, Artist Development, Performing Artists, and Arts Leadership – form a pipeline that develops and supports diversity and inclusion in classical music at every level: music education, artists performing on stage, the repertoire and programing being performed, the communities represented in audiences, and the artistic and administrative leadership within the field.

Sphinx was founded in 1997 by Aaron P. Dworkin with the goal of addressing the underrepresentation of people of color in classical music. The name Sphinx, inspired by the mythical creature and legendary statue, reflects the power, wisdom and persistence that characterize Sphinx’s participants, as well as the enigmatic and interpretive nature of music and art.

Now led by President and Artistic Director Afa S. Dworkin, Sphinx programs reach more than 100,000 as well as live and broadcast audiences of more than two million annually. Read more about Sphinx’s programs.

About Martin University As Indiana’s only Predominantly Black Institution of Higher Education, Martin University educates and develops diverse workforce-ready students in an inclusive, supportive collegiate environment. Located on the near eastside of Indianapolis, it was founded in 1977 to serve low-income, minority and adult learners. Martin offers 14 undergraduate degrees along with two master's degrees. Its Martin WORKS program, with a placement rate of 92 percent, gives students the opportunity to get paid and broaden their work experience, potentially leading to a permanent position with an “employer partner” as they complete their degree. To learn more about Martin and all it has to offer, visit

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