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Avalon Quartet to join Illinois Philharmonic for special concert

Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:28 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:33 a.m. CST
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(Provided photo)
Northern Illinois University’s Avalon Quartet will join the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra for a concert at 8 p.m. April 26 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive in Chicago.

Northern Illinois University’s Avalon Quartet will join the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and its acclaimed Austrian music director David Danzmayr to present “A Premieres Project: Zemlinsky and Schuller.”

The concert begins at 8 p.m. April 26 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive in Chicago.

Featuring the United States premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky’s Symphony No.1, the Chicago premiere of Grammy Award-winning composer Gunther Schuller’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, and Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis,” this program promises to be one of the highlights of the Chicago classical music season.

Maestro Danzmayr is particularly honored to bring the neglected work of fellow Austrian, Alexander Zemlinsky, to American audiences.

Promoted heavily by Brahms during his early days in Vienna, Zemlinksy was one of the foremost composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sadly, though, as a result of suppression of Jewish culture by the Nazi regime during World War II, Zemlinsky’s reputation was all but erased and his music was marginalized.

While his compositions have to this day remained far less-known than those by fellow contemporaries such as Mahler and Brahms, concerted efforts by musicians and organizations around the world to promote his works have led to a resurgence in awareness and interest in Zemlinksy’s prodigious talents.

Danzmayr is honored and excited to present to American audiences the first performance of one of Zemlinsky’s most profound symphonic works.

“Zemlinsky is without question one of the most brilliant composers of the late romantic period,” Danzmayr said in a news release. “Having the opportunity to lead the IPO in the first American performance of this work is a great honor.”

Danzmayr is further thrilled to partner with the Avalon Quartet. Chicago-area chamber music lovers will be treated to a rare opportunity to hear this group in a new setting – as orchestral soloists in the Chicago premiere of Schuller’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra and as members of the orchestra for Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.“

“As an orchestra deeply committed to championing American music, we are very excited to be collaborating with the Avalon Quartet for the Chicago premiere of this work,” IPO Executive Director Andrew Bradford said in the release. “Gunther Schuller is one of the most celebrated American composers alive today, and having the opportunity to hear a premiere of one of his works along with the US premiere of Zemlinsky’s first symphony is a treat music lovers won’t want to miss.”

Tickets range in price from $19 to $59 and can be purchased online or by calling 312-334-7777 or visiting the Harris Theater box office. In addition, $39 seats are available to groups of 10 or more for $25 each. To arrange for group tickets, call 815-685-3305 or email Rachel@ipomusic.org.

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