Avalon String Quartet
Blaise Magniere, violin
Marie Wang, violin
Anthony Devroye, viola
Cheng-Hou Lee, cello
Described by the Chicago Tribune as “an ensemble that invites you — ears, mind, and spirit — into its music”
Avalon String Quartet Returns as the White Lake Chamber Music Festival’s Quartet-in-Residence
The Chicago based, world-renowned Avalon String Quartet returns to the White Lake area for the 10th annual White Lake Chamber Music Festival. This quartet, described as “…deeply musical and sheerly gorgeous”, is the cornerstone of the Festival, presenting 3 concerts, a children’s concert, open rehearsals, and community outreach. Having established itself as one of the country’s leading chamber music ensembles, The Avalon String Quartet continues astonishing audiences across the nation with their performances.
Members of the Avalon String Quartet, described by the Chicago Tribune as "an ensemble that invites you — ears, mind, and spirit — into its music," are Blaise Magniere - violin, Marie Wang - violin, Anthony Devroye - viola, and Cheng-Hou Lee – cello
The August 7 concert will feature Puccini’s Crisantemi for String Quartet, Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80, and Brahms’ String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major, Op. 67.
On August 8, pianist Kuang-Hao Huang will join Avalon to present Stravinsky’ Concertino for String Quartet, the Shostakovich Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57, and Dvorak’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 81.
The grand finale concert on August 10 will feature Mendelssohn’s Capriccio for String Quartet, György Ligeti: String Quartet No. 1 “Métamorphoses Nocturnes”, and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1.
The Avalon has performed in major venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd St Y, Merkin Hall, and Bargemusic in New York; the Library of Congress and National Gallery of Art in Washington DC; Wigmore Hall in London; and Herculessaal in Munich. Other performances include appearances at the Bath International Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Caramoor, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, NPR’s St. Paul Sunday, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Dame Myra Hess Concerts, Los Angeles Music Guild, and the Ravinia Festival. The quartet performs an annual concert series in historic Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has presented the complete quartet cycles of Beethoven, Bartok, and Brahms in recent seasons.
The Avalon is quartet-in-residence at the Northern Illinois University School of Music, a position formerly held by the Vermeer Quartet. Additional teaching activities have included the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute, Interlochen Advanced Quartet Program, Madeline Island Music Camp, and the Britten-Pears School in England, as well as masterclasses at universities and conservatories throughout the United States. Additionally, they have given numerous performances and presentations to young audiences in under-resourced schools and communities.
Blaise Magnière, violin
French violinist Blaise Magnière is a founding member of the Avalon String Quartet. He has appeared at festivals such as Caramoor, Mostly Mozart, La Jolla, Ravinia, Bath and Aldeburgh. His performances and conversation have been heard on BBC, CBC (Canada), ABC (Australia) and France-Musique. He has recorded for the Cedille, New Tangent, Albany and Channel Classics labels, and earned the 2002 Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Award.
Blaise Magnière holds the Richard O. Ryan Endowed Chair in Violin at Northern Illinois University. He studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England during his high-school years before going to McGill University in Montreal, where he studied with Mauricio Fuks, and to the Cleveland Institute of Music with Donald Weilerstein. As an assistant to the Juilliard String Quartet, Blaise Magnière coached chamber music at the Juilliard School.
Blaise is a fan of Chinese food, hiking and enjoys wrestling with his children.
Marie Wang, Violin
Violinist Marie Wang, has been in the Avalon String Quartet since its inception in 1995. As a member of this award winning ensemble, she has captured top prizes at the Concert Artists Guild and the Munich ARD international competitions. The quartet has been invited to perform at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie & Weill Halls, Alice Tully, 92nd St Y, Herculessaal (Munich),and the Library of Congress, among others. Marie has collaborated with artists such as Gilbert Kalish, Juilliard and Pacifica Quartets and members of the Emerson Quartet. Her recordings with the quartet can be found on Cedille Records, Albany Records and on Channel Classics.
Marie’s solo recitals have been broadcast on NPR and her Concerto appearances have been broadcast on CBC Radio Canada. She was a finalist in the CIBC National Music Competition and was a “Berol Rising Star” at the Caramoor Music Festival, NY. Ms. Wang received a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from McGill University, (Mauricio Fuks), and a master’s degree in performance from Northern Illinois University (Mathias Tacke and Shmuel Ashkenasi). She also holds an Artist Diploma from the Julliard School in Quartet Studies while she served as a teaching assistant to the Julliard Quartet as a part of the Lisa Arnold Graduate Quartet Residency. Presently, Marie serves as an Associate Professor of Violin at Northern Illinois University. Prior to her appointment at NIU, she was an Artist in Residence at Indiana University South Bend.
Marie enjoys being goofy with her kids, traveling and fine dining.
Anthony Devroye, Viola
Anthony Devroye has been violist of the Avalon String Quartet since 2004. Mr. Devroye is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Michael Tree and Roberto Diaz; and holds a B.A. in Biological Science from Columbia University, where he pursued concurrent viola studies at The Juilliard School under Toby Appel, Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory. Prior to joining the quartet, he held a two-year fellowship with the New World Symphony.
In addition to his numerous performances with the Avalon Quartet, Mr. Devroye is an occasional guest with the Chicago Symphony (with whom he has toured the United States, Europe and Mexico under Riccardo Muti), Chicago Chamber Musicians, and Grant Park Music Festival. His recitals, chamber music performances and commentary have been regularly featured on WFMT radio, and he has appeared as concerto soloist with the Illinois Philharmonic and Kishwaukee Symphony. In 2014 he became Artistic Director of Rush Hour Concerts in Chicago, an organization that promotes open access to world-class chamber music through free concerts and educational initiatives. Mr. Devroye is an Associate Professor in the School of Music at Northern Illinois University.
Cheng-Hou Lee, Cello
Cellist Cheng-Hou Lee, a native of Taiwan, received both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. He also earned a master’s degree in chamber music at Rice University, where he was a founding member of the award-winning Gotham Quartet. He was a full-scholarship student at New England Conservatory, where he received his Doctoral of Musical Art. Mr. Lee has worked with world-renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Harvey Shapiro, Janos Starker, Mistilav Rostropovich, Zara Nclsova, Paul Katz, Steven Iserlis, Raphael Wallfisch, Gary Hoffman, Tim Eddy, and members of the Juilliard, Tokyo, and Alban Berg Quartets. Cheng-Hou has won the Chi-Mei Foundation Award for Outstanding Talents, the concerto competition at the Manhattan School of Music, Tuesday Musical Club Competition in Houston and twice the National Cello Competition in Taiwan, and he has appeared on WQXR radio station in New York City, WFMT radio station in Chicago and many others in the US.
He was a recipient of a career grant from the Quanta Education Foundation, and he has made solo and chamber music appearances throughout the United States, as well as in Germany, Italy, Hong-Kong, and Taiwan. Mr. Lee served as a teaching assistant to Paul Katz for 5 years, and he has taught or conducted master classes at schools such as University of Michigan, University of Connecticut, University of Delaware, East Carolina University, Southern Illinois University, UCLA, Wheaton College, California State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Brigham Young University, University of Tennessee, University of Illinois Chicago, Inje University in South Korea and the Tainan Woman’s College of Arts and Technology in Taiwan. He was also a faculty member at the Main Line Chamber Music Seminar in Pennsylvania, the “House of Cello” Festival, as well as the Bay Chamber Concerts “Next Generation” Program.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Lee performed with renowned artists such as cellists Paul Katz and Yehuda Hanani, violinists Don Weilerstein, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Robert Chen, Rachel Barton Pine and Lucy Chapman, violists Kim Kashkashian, Hsin-Yun Huang, Richard Young and Richard O’Neill, Clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianists Ruth Laredo, Meng-Chieh Liu and Christina Dahl, the Boromeo String Quartet, the Miami String Quartet, and American composer William Bolcom. In addition, he has appeared in concerts for the David G. Whitcomb Foundation, Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute, Jordan Hall’s 100th anniversary in Boston, the Omega Ensemble in New York City, the Charles Wadsworth and Friends Series, Robert Kapilow’s “What Makes It Great?” Seiries at Lincoln Center, Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, and Summermusic at Market Square Concerts. In recent years, Mr. Lee has given solo recitals at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Series and the Susa Marshall Memorial Concert Series, and appeared as a concerto soloist with Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and NIU Philharmonic. In addition, he has performed regularly with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and made other solo or chamber appearances in the Chicago area.
Cheng-Hou is currently the cellist of the Avalon Quartet, which previously served as the string faculty at Indiana University at South Bend, and in August 2007 the Avalon Quartet succeeded the world-renowned Vermeer Quartet as the quartet-in-residence at Northern Illinois University. The quartet presents its own series in downtown Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago, and has previously showcased the complete Beethoven and Bartok cycles. During summers, the quartet has been on faculty at festivals such as the Interlochen Center for the Arts’ Advanced String Quartet program, Madeline Island Music Camp, the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival, and the Hot Springs Festival.
Kuang-Hao Huang, piano
Pianist Kuang-Hao Huang has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe and Asia. Mr. Huang is most often heard as a
collaborator, performing concerts and radio broadcasts with Chicago's finest musicians, from instrumentalists of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to singers with the Lyric Opera. He has been a guest of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and has performed with the Avalon, Chicago, Spektral and Vermeer String Quartets. Mr. Huang can be heard in recordings on the Cedille and Naxos labels.
An advocate of new music, Mr. Huang gave the world premiere performances of solo works by Louis Andriessen and Chen Yi at Weill Hall as part of Carnegie Hall’s Millennium Piano Book Project. He has also premiered numerous ensemble works, including pieces by Jacob Bancks,
Mason Bates, Kyong Mee Choi, Stacy Garrop, John Harbison, Daniel Kellogg,
James Matheson and Laura Schwendinger. Mr. Huang is a member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project. He has been involved with the
Chicago Chamber Musicians Composer Perspectives
series and has also played with MusicNOW
and CUBE Ensemble.
A dedicated teacher, Mr. Huang serves on the faculties of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and Concordia University-Chicago. On behalf of the International Music Foundation, he has presented educational outreach programs
throughout the Chicago Public Schools. For a decade, he coordinated the piano program at Northwestern University’s National High School Music Institute.
Mr. Huang has degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University and Northwestern University. His principal teachers include Leonard Hokanson, Joseph Kalichstein, Howard Karp, Rita Sloan and Sylvia Wang. During his graduate studies, Mr. Huang was a recipient of the U.S. Department of Education's Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. He was also a member of the New World Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas's orchestral academy.
A native of Whitewater, Wisconsin, Mr. Huang currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois with his wonderful wife and kids.