Black Violin is composed of classically trained violist and violinist Wil Baptiste and Kev Marcus who combine their classical training and and hip-hop influences to create a distinctive multi-genre sound that is often described as “classical boom”. The band released their major label debut Stereotypes (featuring Black Thought of The Roots and MC Pharoahe Monch) on Universal Music which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Chart and #4 on the Billboard R&B Chart. NPR took note and declared “their music will keep classical music alive for the next generation”.
Wil and Kev place heavy emphasis on educational outreach and have perform for more than 100,000 students each year. Recently, they were announced as Turnaround Artists for Mary B. Bethune Elementary School in their hometown of Broward County, FL. Turnaround Arts, a national education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, infuses arts into struggling schools to support overall reform efforts. Through their student engagement and public performances, Black Violin challenge the stereotypes and preconceived notion of what a “classical musician” looks and sounds like. “The stereotypes are always there, embedded so deep in our culture,” says Wil. “Just by nature of our existence we challenge those ideas. It’s a unique thing that brings people together who aren’t usually in the same room, and in the current climate, it’s good to bring people together.”
The band is endorsed by Yamaha Music and Bose and has partnered with the National Association for Music Manufacturers (NAMM) to continue their advocacy for accessible music education.