Quartet returns for sixth consecutive season in historic Fullerton Hall

CHICAGO — The Avalon String Quartet announces their return to the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) in 2016-2017 for a sixth consecutive season of concerts in historic Fullerton Hall at the museum’s main entrance, 111 S. Michigan Ave. The ensemble’s four concerts, between October 2016 and May 2017, are held on Sunday afternoons at 2:00pm, and are FREE with museum admission; doors open at approximately 1:30pm, and tickets and reservations are not required.

Following previous seasons at the AIC in which they have presented the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Brahms and Bartok, among other major composers of the 18th-21st centuries, the quartet’s programs this season highlight connections between poetry and music. Major works by Beethoven, Schubert and Shostakovich are complemented by lesser-known masterpieces. The programs in Fall and Winter will recognize the centennial celebrations of two 20th-century masters, Alberto Ginastera and Henri Dutilleux. For the opening concert, a noted Soprano soloist joins the quartet; in the final program, two distinguished guests will augment the ensemble for a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s sumptuous string sextet, “Verklaerte Nacht.”

Blaise Magniere, founding first violinist of the Avalon Quartet, said: “We cherish our relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago. Fullerton Hall is one of the finest performance spaces in the city. The rich acoustics of the space, and the museum’s extraordinary holdings of some of the world’s finest art, create an inspiring backdrop for our season of concerts drawing connections between the expressivity of music and poetry.” The series is a co-production of the AIC’s Division of Lectures and Performance Programs, which opens each concert with a ten minute talk showcasing artwork from the museum’s collection; and the Northern Illinois University School of Music, where the Avalon is quartet in residence.

Avalon String Quartet – Art Institute of Chicago Concert Series

October 16 Arriaga: String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor
Ginastera: String Quartet No. 3
With Michelle Areyzaga, soprano

December 4 Dutilleux: “Ainsi la nuit”
Beethoven: Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132

February 5 Schubert: Quartet in E-flat Major
Schubert: Quartet in D Minor, “Death and the Maiden”

May 7 Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 3 in F Major, Op. 73
Schoenberg: “Verklaerte Nacht”
With Helen Callus, viola and Katinka Kleijn, cello

About the Avalon String Quartet
Described by the Chicago Tribune as “an ensemble that invites you – ears, mind and spirit – into its music,” the Avalon String Quartet has established itself as one of the country’s leading chamber music ensembles. The Avalon performs regularly in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere in the United States, and is the string quartet in residence at the Northern Illinois University School of Music in Dekalb; in September, 2016 the ensemble makes its first tour of Colombia, with concerts in Bogota, Valledupar and Riohacha, in collaboration with the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago through a MacArthur Foundation International Connections grant. The quartet’s members are Blaise Magniere and Marie Wang, violins; Anthony Devroye, viola; and Cheng-Hou Lee, cello.

About the guest artists
As a coveted performer with a diverse repertoire, soprano Michelle Areyzaga is held in high regard by orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States and abroad. Known as a foremost interpreter of vocal art song and chamber music, Ms. Areyzaga has been a repeat guest of the New York Festival of Song, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Chicago Ensemble, as well as Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, and the Tucson Desert Song Festival. She has collaborated with the Avalon String Quartet, the Cavatina Duo, and the Lincoln Trio, and has been selected to perform world premieres of many new works by American composers.

Helen Callus, hailed as “one of the world’s greatest violists” (American Record Guide), “a violist of the highest caliber” (Strings magazine), and “one of the foremost violists of her generation” (Fanfare magazine), continues to captivate audiences with her lyrical tone, technical command, and profound artistry. Sought after as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist, Ms. Callus has performed with such world-class ensembles as the Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets and the BBC Concert Orchestra. She has recently been appointed Professor of Viola at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music.

Chicago Symphony cellist Katinka Kleijn has performed as soloist with the CSO under the baton of Charles Dutoit in Penderecki’s Triple Cello Concerto, and recently gave the world premiere of a concerto by Dai Fujikawa at Lincoln Center with the International Contemporary Ensemble, of which she is a member. She has collaborated in chamber music with Yo Yo Ma, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Christoph Eschenbach, Richard Goode, Lynn Harrell, and Jeremy Denk; and has recorded on the Cedille, Naxos, and Boston labels.

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