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Avalon String Quartet to Perform
New Composition by UW-Eau Claire Composer

RELEASED: Oct. 29, 2008

The Avalon String Quartet
The Avalon String Quartet

EAU CLAIRE — The Avalon String Quartet will perform Nov. 12 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. A recently premiered composition by UW-Eau Claire assistant professor Dr. Ethan Wickman will highlight the Artists Series concert, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall of Haas Fine Arts Center.

The New York Times described the quartet as "a group of coltish musicians: eager, full of vim, full of ideas, following one another with enthusiasm. ... The sound they make is big, strongly projected, with inner parts that speak, or rather sing."

The Avalon String Quartet is composed of Blaise Magnière (violin), Marie Wang (violin), Anthony Devroye (viola) and Cheng-Hou Lee (cello). Since it was founded in 1995, the group has won many notable competitions and secured coveted residencies — most recently a position at Northern Illinois University formerly occupied by the distinguished Vermeer Quartet. The ensemble was quartet-in-residence at Indiana University at South Bend for four years.

The Avalon String Quartet's awards in major competitions include 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 International Music Competition in Munich.

The Avalon String Quartet presented the premiere of Wickman's "Namasté" at the Chicago Symphony Center in April. The work was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University. A commercial recording is forthcoming.

Dr. Ethan Wickman
Dr. Ethan Wickman

Wickman describes the piece as "a conceptual one, inspired in part by the Hindu greeting namast, which roughly means 'the light (or divine) within me salutes the light within you.' I started thinking about a piece in which the color of one instrument anticipates and salutes the color of the next."

Wickman joined UW-Eau Claire's department of music and theater arts faculty in 2006, teaching applied composition, orchestration and music theory. He earned a doctorate in music composition from the University of Cincinnati and holds additional degrees in music from Boston University and Brigham Young University.

Avalon's Artists Series program will also include Beethoven's String Quartet No. 13, Op. 130.

Tickets are $17 for the public, $15 for those age 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $7 for those age 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Student tickets are half price ($3.50) until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students will be required to pay the full student ticket price.

Tickets are available at the Service Center in the east lobby of Davies Center, 715-836-3727, and will be sold at the door. Tickets for all campus events also are on sale at the Service Center's ticket office in the main lobby of Haas Fine Arts Center. The ticket outlet is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is closed during holidays and academic breaks.

Patrons may also charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

The Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989), 3340 Mondovi Road, is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office of the University Centers.

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JS/NW

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