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Occasionally allegro, usually adagio

August 29, 2014
Tony Devroye

Tony Devroye

Tony Devroye, associate professor of viola at the NIU School of Music and violist of the famed Avalon String Quartet, has been named the new artistic director of Rush Hour Concerts.

Rush Hour Concerts, a 15-year-old organization, brings high-quality classical music to the public for free in its weekly summer concert series at St. James Cathedral in River North.

Devroye has served the organization this year as consulting artistic director, working closely with Interim Artistic Director Brant Taylor and Associate Artistic Director Kuang-Hao Huang to preserve the mission and vision of RHC founder and former Creative Director Deborah Sobol, who passed away unexpectedly last January.

The announcement of Devroye’s new title with RHC, which takes effect immediately, was made Tuesday at the final concert of the 2014 season.

“I’m so honored to take on this important role, building on the strong foundation laid by Deborah Sobol, a woman I so admired,” Devroye said.

“I want to maintain Rush Hour’s commitment to original thinking surrounding the concert experience, with an emphasis on access to and engagement with the music we cherish,” he added. “I’ve spent the last six months getting to know as much as I can about the organization, and I’m inspired by the dedication of Acting Executive Director Kitty Rothschild, RHC Board President Tom Orlando and the rest of the board. Working alongside Brant and Kuang-Hao is an opportunity any musician would envy.”

Orlando is confident that this “artistic leadership team that will launch Rush Hour Concerts into its next 15 years of transforming busy lives through great music.”

“Less than one year ago, Debbie said that she wanted Rush Hour Concert’s artistic team to be ‘creating things out of the box, responsive to the times, forward-thinking and staying nimble,’ ” Orlando said. “Over the course of this year, Tony has exhibited these attributes and many more that are important for the success of this organization. In hindsight, we are fortunate that Debbie gave so much thought to who would succeed her.”

Rush Hour Concerts: Great Music for Busy LivesHuang will continue in his capacity as associate artistic director with RHC, primarily overseeing Make Music Chicago, the city-wide day of free music that takes place every June 21 and is presented by RHC. Taylor will remain with the organization as consulting artistic director and as a board member.

Devroye, who will continue in his role with the Avalon String Quartet and at NIU in addition to his RHC duties, enjoys a varied and active career as chamber, orchestral and solo violist and teacher. He has been violist of the Avalon String Quartet since 2004 and on the faculty at the NIU School of Music since 2007.

Since its inception in 2000, Rush Hour Concerts has reinvented the classical music experience through a dedication to artistic quality, a concert format suitable to contemporary lifestyles and a policy of admission-free events. Rush Hour Concerts has created groundbreaking programs and access initiatives that have revolutionized music-making in Chicago and forged trendsetting partnerships with the city’s arts and cultural community.

Rush Hour Concerts is committed to broadening arts access and launched its Community Engagement Residencies to bring expert musical instruction to under-resourced neighborhoods in Chicago through a long-term strategy of artistic and community collaboration.