Avalon String Quartet
Described by the Chicago Tribune as “an ensemble that invites you — ears, mind, and spirit — into its music”
The Avalon has performed in major venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd St Y, Merkin Hall, and Bargemusic in New York; the Library of Congress and National Gallery of Art in Washington DC; Wigmore Hall in London; and Herculessaal in Munich. Other performances include appearances at the Bath International Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Caramoor, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, NPR’s St. Paul Sunday, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Dame Myra Hess Concerts, Los Angeles Music Guild, and the Ravinia Festival. The quartet performs an annual concert series in historic Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has presented the complete quartet cycles of Beethoven, Bartok, and Brahms in recent seasons.
The Avalon is quartet-in-residence at the Northern Illinois University School of Music, a position formerly held by the Vermeer Quartet. Additional teaching activities have included the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute, Interlochen Advanced Quartet Program, Madeline Island Music Camp, and the Britten-Pears School in England, as well as masterclasses at universities and conservatories throughout the United States. Additionally, they have given numerous performances and presentations to young audiences in under-resourced schools and communities.
In 2015, the quartet released “Illuminations”, its first recording for Cedille Records. It was met with praise from NY Times, WQXR radio and Chicago Tribune. This recording follows a critically acclaimed CD of contemporary American works on the Albany label in 2010. The Avalon String Quartet’s debut CD, Dawn to Dusk, featuring quartets by Ravel and Janacek, was honored with the 2002 Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Award for best chamber music recording.
The quartet’s live performances and conversations are frequently featured on Chicago fine arts radio station WFMT. They have also been heard on New York’s WQXR and WNYC, National Public Radio’s Performance Today, Canada’s CBC, Australia’s ABC, the ARD of Germany, and France Musique.
The Avalon captured the top prize at the ARD Competition in Munich (2000) and First Prize at the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York City (1999). In its early years, the ensemble trained intensively with the Juilliard Quartet at The Juilliard School, the Emerson Quartet at the Hartt School of Music, and the Vermeer Quartet at Northern Illinois University
“…Artist-faculty quartet-in-residence at Northern Illinois University since 2007, the Avalon Quartet, Blaise Magnière and Marie Wang, violin; Anthony Devroye, viola; and Cheng Hou-Lee, cello, is an enormous boon to the thriving local chamber music scene. This is quite simply one of the most polished and dynamic young string quartets I have come across. The players pressed into the phrases of Beethoven’s Quartet in B flat major (Opus 18, No. 6) with a full-throttle urgency that didn’t preclude precise intonation or acuteness of rhythm.”John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune