Pictured left to right: Moses T. Alexander Greene, Director of Performing Arts & Film at the North Carolina Museum of Art, United Strings of Color Quartet members CT Thomas, Kennedy Mitchell, Lexi Etienne, Sterling Elliott, USC Coach Margaret Partridge.

In 2018, then Executive Director Margaret Partridge called together a group of African-American families whose children were participating in our youth orchestras to discuss a project to address racial disparity in classical music. The families embraced the idea of an outreach-focused string quartet that would inspire and encourage all children to pursue music. The founding musicians named the ensemble United Strings of Color. After stepping down as the Philharmonic Association’s Executive Director in June 2020, Margaret chose to continue as the quartet’s coach.

 

 

Pictured from left to right: Talya Murphy, CT Thomas, composer Elmer Gibson, Sterling Elliott, Lexi Etienne.

 

 

The United Strings of Color Quartet regularly performs works by underrepresented composers in an effort to act as a platform for diverse voices. In 2020, the quartet presented a series of Violin Vigils to honor the late violinist Elijah McClain as well as other black lives cut short by systemic violence. The Violin Vigils featured poetry by Wake County students. In 2021, the quartet premiered Ijapa and Mr. Igbin, a commissioned work by local composer Elmer Gibson at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The multifaceted performance featured artwork by Poe Elementary School Students and narration of a Yoruba tale by Henry O. Lovett.

 

 

The quartet continues to perform regularly at local festivals and venues throughout the Triangle including the African American Cultural Celebration at the North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh Little Theatre, the Durham Armory, the Governor’s Mansion, the Capital City Juneteenth Celebration, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

 

 

 

 

United Strings of Color Performs “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” by Undine Smith Moore at the African American Cultural Celebration in 2019.


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