Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The Viva Verdi series at Bard College presents the Avalon String Quartet in concert on Wednesday, February 12. The program, in commemoration of Annys and William Wilson, who were longtime members of the Bard community and who both died in 2002, is cosponsored by The Bard Center and will begin at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. President Leon Botstein and Professor Benjamin LaFarge will speak prior to the concert; Robert Martin, Bard's vice president for academic affairs, will discuss the music. The Avalon Quartet will perform Giacomo Puccini's String Quartet in D and Giuseppe Verdi's String Quartet in E Minor. A reception will follow the concert. Both the concert and reception are free and open to the public.

"This is an ensemble that invites you-ears, mind, and spirit-into its music," wrote John von Rhein of the Avalon String Quartet in the Chicago Tribune. "Their youthful vigor and spontaneity were set within a warmly blended style, their sound as rich as polished wood." The quartet has established itself as one of the country's leading chamber ensembles and has earned international acclaim for the bold musicality and passionate intensity of its performances. The quartet members are cellist Sumire Kudo, violinists Blaise Magniere and Marie Wang, and violist Brian Chen.

Last season, the quartet made its Mostly Mozart Festival debut at Lincoln Center; its Washington, D.C., debut at the Library of Congress; and its Alice Tully Hall recital debut with a program that included the world premiere of a new work by David MacBride. The quartet has also performed at Bargemusic; Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; Caramoor International Music Festival; Purdue University; Walton Arts Center; Bravo! Vail Valley Festival; Minnesota Public Radio's St. Paul Sunday; and the Music Toronto concert series. During the summer of 2002, the quartet had a three-week tour of Italy for the Emilia Romagna Festival, and also appeared in Slovenia at the Ljubljana Festival.

During 2002-03, the ensemble will serve for a second year as resident quartet at The Juilliard School. The quartet also has been in residence at the Hartt School of Music and held a similar residency with the Vermeer Quartet at Northern Illinois University. Members of the quartet have worked with such major artists as Henry Meyer, Jaime Laredo, Leon Fleischer, Peter Wiley, Gilbert Kalish, and Michael Tree, and with members of the Emerson, Orion, Cleveland, La Salle, Juilliard, and Tokyo string quartets.

Formed in 1995 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Avalon String Quartet's numerous honors include top prize at the 2000 International Music Competition of the ARD in Germany; first prizes from the Channel Classics Prize, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival Prize, and the 1999 Concert Artists Guild Competition; and grand prize at the 1998 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. In 1997, the quartet participated in Isaac Stern's Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall, which resulted in an invitation from Stern to perform in the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Encounters in Jerusalem. In March 2000, Stern presented the ensemble's Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall.

The ensemble's live performances and conversations have been featured on many radio programs, including National Public Radio's Performance Today, Canada's CBC, Australia's ABC, and France Musique. The Avalon Quartet's debut recording, Dawn to Dusk, was released in February 2001 to critical acclaim and was honored with a Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Award as one of the best chamber music recordings of 2001.

The Viva Verdi series is a program that celebrates Giuseppe Verdi's centenary and the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Italian state. The series is presented by the Italian Studies Program at Bard. The next program in the series will be a concert by the Risorgimento Project of vocal chamber works by 19th-century Italian composers, on Wednesday, April 16. This program, which is also free and open to the public, will begin at 8:00 p.m. in Bard Hall.

For further information about the concert or the Viva Verdi series, call 845-758-7425 or visit the website

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This event was last updated on 01-17-2003