Based in Jacksonville, Florida, the Ritz Chamber Players have delighted audiences since 2002. Founded by Terrance L. Patterson—Artistic Director and a classically trained clarinetist from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University—the chamber music group has uniquely redefined traditional arts participation to one that is reflective of our multicultural society.
The Ritz Chamber Players’ members are musically talented and gifted artists of the African diaspora who perform with and have principle positions in prestigious organizations including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and the London Symphony.
We have performed nationally and internationally, including BBC World Service and WYNC New York with a concert broadcast to more than 40 countries and a television appearance on the 37th Annual NAACP Image Awards.
The Ritz Chamber Players innovate programs have been featured and reviewed nationally in many publications such as: Chamber Music America, International Musician, Ebony Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, The Florida-Times Union and by critic, Sarah Bryan Miller of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
We have received numerous awards for our unique programing, including:
the first-ever Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures from The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida which recognizes an artist whose work brings distinction to Northeast Florida
the Boundless: 40 Years, 40 Icons Awards from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville given to individuals that demonstrated continuous significant support of arts and culture in our community;
recipient of the first ONYX Awards for Distinction in Music; and the Aspire Awards from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program.
About Our Name
HOW DID WE GET THE NAME “RITZ CHAMBER PLAYERS”
The Ritz Chamber Players’ name derives from The Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum which celebrates the rich legacy of the African-American community that thrived in Jacksonville, Florida’s LaVilla district for more than 100 years. Today, the theatre and museum are revered as the premiere cultural institution in Jacksonville, Florida, showcasing art, music, drama, poetry, and African American history.
The stories and legends of LaVilla, known as the “Harlem of the South,” live on within the walls of the refurbished museum and theatre. Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum is committed to reclaiming the past, celebrating the present, and embracing the future. The rich history of the community surrounding the Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum began more than 140 years ago. Many formerly enslaved people began a life of freedom near the Northeast Florida plantation called LaVilla. From 1861 to 1887, LaVilla was an independent and culturally diverse municipality. African-Americans held senior positions in the government, police, and fire department.
For almost 100 years, LaVilla continued to serve as a vibrant center for African-American commerce, entertainment, education, and religion for Northeast Florida. When the walls of segregation began to fall in the 1960’s, many middle and upper class African-Americans moved to other areas of the city. Neglect and a shrinking local economy left LaVilla’s historic buildings, including the Ritz Theatre, damaged and deteriorating.
The City of Jacksonville’s River City Renaissance initiative in the late 1990’s provided funds to revitalize the LaVilla neighborhood. The site of the original 1929 Ritz movie house was designed as an anchor for the community and the Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum was born.