Black Violin at the Holland Center-Omaha!

Duo Blends Highbrow And Pop Culture In Genre-Busting Performance

Omaha Performing Arts presents Black Violin in the Scott Recital Hall at the Holland Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 12, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show, and are available at, 402.345.0606 or at the Ticket Omaha Office inside the Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St. Black Violin’s performance is a part of the 2014/15 1200 Club Series.
The classically-trained duo, Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester, meld highbrow and pop culture in the genre-busting act, Black Violin, which is backed by a three-person band. Since starting Black Violin a decade ago – named after an album by preeminent African-American swing era jazz violinist Stuff Smith – they have tried to bridge the gap between the worlds of classical and popular music, playing a blend of classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B and bluegrass. The result is inspiring to all ages, though Black Violin remains particularly committed to turning young fans on to their own potential, stressing the importance of arts education. While in Omaha, Black Violin will lead a master class for the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras and perform a Student Matinee Series show for K-12 school groups.
 “We’re passionate about it because we realize how fortunate we were to grow up having access to that,” explained Wil B. “It’s something in which we take a great deal of pride. We encourage kids to think creatively, to take what they love doing and try to come up with something no one has ever done before. And that doesn’t just apply to playing violin or even music, but whatever it is you decide to do. Expand your mind. Once we get their attention with the music, that’s the message we want to deliver.” 
Wil B and Kev are viola and violin players who first met playing in the high school orchestra in Florida. After graduating college, they joined up as hip-hop studio artists in South Florida, working with several different acts before returning to their roots. They’ve played for everybody from the 
troops in Iraq to both the official President’s Inaugural Ball and the Kids Inaugural in Washington, D.C. 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, and appeared on the Meek Mill cut “Maybach Curtains” with John Legend, Rick Ross and Nas. Wil B and Kev also scored an episode of CSI: New York, adapting the finale of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly for an on-screen murder. 
The band’s most recent album, Classically Trained, is the follow-up to their 2007 self-titled debut on their own Di-Versatile Music Group label. According to The New York Times, “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.” 
“It takes 10 years to become an overnight sensation,” said Kev. “This is just the beginning for us. Our best selling point is, we could be anywhere in the world before any kind of audience, when we pull out our instruments, people stop what they’re doing and watch.” 
The 1200 Club transforms the Holland Performing Arts Center’s most intimate venue, the Suzanne and Walter Scott Recital Hall, into a relaxed nightclub setting where patrons can experience performances by nationally and internationally known artists in jazz, blues and comedy. While enjoying the evening’s entertainment, audience members may enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails served right to their candle-lit table. The remaining performances at the 1200 CLUB are Kurt Elling’s “Elling Swings Sinatra” on April 23 and Rock Legends with Billy McGuigan on May 15. 


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