The Avalon String Quartet begins their seventh season of concerts in historic Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago on Sunday, November 5 at 2:00pm. The quartet will present four concerts on this year’s series, now one of the most acclaimed and popular chamber music series in Chicago. Concerts are free with museum admission, and relate music from the standard and contemporary string quartet repertoire to art in the museum’s permanent collection as well as traveling exhibitions; a brief art talk contextualizing the afternoon’s offerings begins each program.
Since the inception of the quartet’s series at the Art Institute, the Avalon have performed the complete quartets of Beethoven, Brahms and Bartok; presented a focus on Mieczyslav Weinberg; played works by contemporary composers including Stacy Garrop, Harold Meltzer and Wolfgang Rihm; collaborated with pianists Winston Choi, Christina Dahl, and William Goldenberg; and performed a wide range of the standard quartet literature, including works by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Prokofiev and Britten.
The 2017-2018 season draws connections with diverse artwork at the museum. The first two programs (November 5, 2017 and January 14, 2018) focus on the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, including his landmark Quartet No. 8. These concerts coincide with the museum’s “Revoliutsiia! Demonstratsiia!” exhibition, which examines Soviet art from the vantage of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution.
The March 25, 2018 concert will feature music of Shih-Hui Chen, an American-based Taiwanese composer. Her “Fantasia on Plum Blossom” relates to an exhibition of Chinese folk art in the museum at that time. The folk connection is extended to the beloved String Quartet No. 1 of Edvard Grieg.
On Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018 the Avalon will conclude the series with a special program celebrating the cycle of life. Florence Price, who was the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major orchestra (the Chicago Symphony, in 1933), arranged familiar and beloved folk songs and spirituals into sophisticated four-part counterpoint for string quartet. Franz Schubert’s String Quartet in G is one of the towering accomplishments in the medium, and a sobering reflection on life, love and struggle.
The Avalon is the string quartet in residence at the Northern Illinois University School of Music in Dekalb, which co-presents this series with the Art Institute. Active professionally since 1996, the quartet has appeared in many of the country’s major chamber music venues, series, and festivals; and abroad in England, France, South Korea and Colombia.
Sundays at 2:00pm
Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave
FREE with museum admission
November 5, 2017
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 108
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 68
January 14, 2018
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 10 in A-flat Major, Op. 118
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110
March 25, 2018
Shih-Hui Chen: Fantasia on “Plum Blossom”
Grieg: String Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 27
May 13, 2018
Florence Price: Five Folk Songs in Counterpoint
Schubert: String Quartet No. 15 in G Major, D. 887