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Avalon String Quartet ‘polished, vibrant’

March 12, 2014

Avalon QuartetThe Avalon String Quartet, quartet-in-residence at the NIU School of Music, recently concluded a short tour of California, and performances at The Music Guild garnered a terrific review in Stage and Cinema.

In the review, entitled “I Found my Love in Avalon,” Tony Frankel calls the Avalon Quartet “one of the most meticulously amalgamated ensembles I have seen. The training of these focused collaborators – namely with the Juilliard, Emerson and Vermeer Quartets – consistently shows itself in elegance, clarity, blend and give-and-take. They’re polished, vibrant, and straightforward but never cheeky.”

Founded in 1995, the Avalon Quartet joined the NIU School of Music as Artist Faculty String-Quartet-in-Residence in the fall of 2007.

Members of the Avalon Quartet include Blaise Magnière, Marie Wang, Anthony Devroye and Cheng-Hou Lee.  They annually perform a number of concerts on campus and in Chicago as well as perform nationally. In addition to performing, they teach applied lessons and coach chamber music.

“The Avalon String Quartet continues to garner wonderful reviews from critics where ever they perform, whether it be Chicago or abroad,” says Paul Bauer, director of the NIU School of Music.

The quartet next performs at the 19th Century Charitable Association in Oak Park on March 26 before appearing at Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago March 30.

“In the course of presenting the complete and iconic quartet cycles by Beethoven and Bartók in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago and WFMT radio, the quartet has achieved a higher level of artistry than when they first joined NIU as artist faculty,” Bauer adds. “The School of Music is forever grateful for the establishment of the Richard O. Ryan Endowed Chair, occupied by first violinist Magnière, as that endowment has allowed the Avalon to continue now a fifth decade of residency of a world-class string quartet at NIU.”

The quartet garnered attention as prize winners in major competitions including the Grand Prize at the 1998 Fischoff Competition, First Prize in the 1999 Concert Artist Guild competition, and the highest prize awarded at the 2000 ARD Munich Competition. The quartet also received awards at the 1998 Banff and 1999 Melbourne competitions. Their debut CD, “Dawn to Dusk,” was awarded the 2002 Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Award.

The Avalon Quartet has performed in numerous major venues including Carnegie-Weill Recital Hall, New York’s Merkin Hall, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, the Music Alp Festival in Seoul, Korea, London’s Wigmore Hall, Herculessal in Munich, and the Ravinia Festival.