Quasari Quartet will perform Oct. 11 at NIU

Quasari Quartet
Quasari Quartet

The NIU School of Music will welcome the Quasari Quartet to perform string quartets by Ludwig van Beethoven, Dmitri Shostakovich and contemporary American composer Zack Browning, who will be present for the performance.

The concert will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, in the Music Building Recital Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

On the program: Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 3 in D major, op. 18, No. 3, Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68, and Browning’s String Quartet, composed in 2008.

The Quasari Quartet was formed in 2009. Its members — violinists Emelinda Escobar and Gloria Mo, violist Alyssa Roggow, and cellist Philip Bergman — currently are pursuing undergraduate degrees in performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

While Quasari’s members study individually and as a quartet with members of the Grammy-award-winning Pacifica String Quartet, they have also received coaching from cellist Dmitry Kouzov and others.

Quasari focuses on the classics of string quartet repertoire, with a recent performance of a Shostakovich quartet at the 2011 DoCha Chamber Music Festival. Shortly after becoming a quartet, the Quasari played pieces by friends and UIUC graduate composers Jinok Cho and Steve Lett. These performances led to a variety of exciting opportunities in the world of new music, including a performance of a quartet by California-based composer Sam Nichols at the 2010 Martirano Competition awards concert.

At present, the quartet is recording a piece by another UIUC graduate composer, Jason Mitchell, and is working with composition professor Browning to perform his String Quartet at universities and other venues throughout the Midwest.

In the summer of 2011, Quasari attended the 5 Seasons Chamber Music Festival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as faculty interns, where they coached and performed for young musicians.

Zack Browning
Zack Browning

Browning is a composer whose music has been described as “way-cool in attitude … speed-demon music” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and “propulsive, giddy, rocking … a rush of cyclic riffs and fractured meters” (The New York Times).

The Irish Times proclaimed he is “bringing together the procedures of high musical art with the taste of popular culture.” The CD Banjaxed, on Capstone Records, contains eight of his compositions for voice, instruments and computer-generated sounds, and has been called “dramatic, exciting, rhythmic, high-energy music.”

Browning’s recent composition awards include a 2011 Individual Artist Project Grant from the Illinois Arts Council for a new CD of his music based on feng shui and a 2010 University of Illinois FAA Creative Fellowship Award for research and performances in Asia.

Performances of his music have taken place at the Bonk Festival of New Music (Tampa), the International Society for Contemporary Music Festival (Miami), International Computer Music Conference (New Orleans), Spark Festival (Minneapolis) and many more venues.

Browning is an associate professor emeritus of composition at the University of Illinois. His most recent CD, “Venus Notorious,” is available on Innova Recordings.

For more information on the Oct. 11 concert, call (815) 753-1546.

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