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Artists Series to feature acclaimed Pro Arte Quartet

RELEASED: Oct. 11, 2010

Pro Arte Quartet

The Pro Arte Quartet will perform Oct. 25 in UW-Eau Claire's Haas Fine Arts Center.

EAU CLAIRE — The Pro Arte Quartet, "one of the greatest quartets of our time" (San Francisco Chronicle), will perform Oct. 25 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Artists Series concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

The New York Times has praised the Pro Arte Quartet's presentation of "wonderfully personal, intense music performed with real devotion and accomplishment." Their program will include String Quartet in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5, by Beethoven; String Quartet No. 5 in B flat Major, Op. 92, by Shostakovich; and String Quartet in A Minor, D. 804, by Schubert.

Founded in 1911-12 by students at the Brussels Conservatory, the Pro Arte Quartet served as the court quartet to Queen Elizabeth of Belgium. Its world reputation blossomed in 1919 when the quartet began the first of many tours and earned such acclaim that composers notably Milhaud, Honegger and Bartok gave the ensemble new works to introduce. By 1926, the quartet made its New York debut and toured American cities. The group returned for 30 U.S. tours, often under the auspices of Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, noted patron of chamber music.

The quartet's first visit to Madison was in 1938, where, two years later, the musicians were stranded by Hitler's invasion of Belgium and the outbreak of World War II. The UW chancellor offered a permanent home to the quartet the first such residency ever in a major American university, and the model on which many other similar arrangements were developed at other institutions.

The Pro Arte Quartet maintains a three-fold commitment to the performance of chamber music. The quartet promotes an exciting balance of old and new repertoire, seeking opportunities to commission and premiere works of living composers in a variety of contemporary styles. It forges a passionate connection with audiences of diverse backgrounds through a full schedule of concerts, tours, recordings and broadcasts. The Pro Arte Quartet serves UW-Madison with full appointments, combining performance, education and service to the state.

The Pro Arte Quartet comprises violinists David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violist Sally Chisholm and cellist Parry Karp. The musicians will present a master class at 2 p.m. Oct. 25 in Gantner Concert Hall. The class is free and open to the public.

"Cookies for a Cause," an Artists Series initiative to spotlight nonprofit community organizations, continues. Cookies made by Blugold Dining especially for the program will be sold ($2, cash only) at the Pro Arte Quartet concert, with profits going to benefit the Meals on Wheels program of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Eau Claire County. Meals on Wheels serves people who are 60 years of age or older and essentially homebound; a spouse of someone who qualifies, regardless of age; and those who are disabled and live with an eligible older person. As well as delivering healthy meals, Meals on Wheels volunteers provide a daily check on those accepted into the program and get in touch with designated contact people if there is ever reason for concern.

Tickets are $17 for the public; $15 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff; or $7 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets for students are half-price, $3.50, until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students must pay the full student-ticket price.

Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard, Visa or Discover when ordering 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. The Artists Series also is funded in part by Visit Eau Claire ... The Unexpected Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Radio, WHYS Radio and Community Television have contributed promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989), 3340 Mondovi Road, is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

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

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JS/DW

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