As the curtains rise on the evening of February 2, the prestigious Wheeler Opera House will host the dynamic duo of Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste, two-time Grammy-nominated members of Black Violin. The performance is scheduled to commence at 7:30 p.m., promising an immersive experience that blends classical finesse with hip-hop beats.
Opening the stage for Black Violin is the soulful Abraham Alexander, celebrated for his prowess in soul, hip-hop, and blues. Alexander has recently captivated audiences at Red Rocks, where he opened for the acclaimed Leon Bridges.
The Black Violin Experience Tour is a unique musical fusion, showcasing Marcus on the electric violin, Baptiste on the viola and vocals, and complemented by DJ SPS on the turntable and Liston Gregory on keys. Together, they redefine the traditional perception of a violin concert, harmoniously blending the works of Mozart, Marvin Gaye, and Kendrick Lamar.
Black Violin has been a driving force for nearly two decades, seamlessly merging classical string arrangements with contemporary beats and vocals. The journey began when Marcus and Baptiste, classically trained on the violin and viola at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, joined forces post-college to produce beats for South Florida rappers. Their musical synergy propelled them to win “Showtime at the Apollo” in 2005, paving the way for sold-out headline performances at renowned venues nationwide, including a two-night run at The Kennedy Center in 2018.
The duo’s 2019 album, “Take the Stairs,” earned them a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.” Notably, Black Violin received a 2023 Grammy Award nomination for their collaborative work with The Blind Boys of Alabama.
Beyond their musical achievements, Marcus and Baptiste are dedicated to community engagement. Performing approximately 200 shows annually, they prioritize performances for young, low-income students in urban communities, challenging stereotypes associated with classical musicians. In the past year alone, Black Violin has played for over 100,000 students, aiming to reshape perceptions of what a “classical musician” embodies.
As Black Violin takes the stage at the Wheeler Opera House, their performance promises not just an auditory delight but also an opportunity to witness the transformative power of music and community engagement.