Chicago quartet to rhapsodize campus

By Amy Wais

The NIU School of Music is hosting a Grammy award-winning musical ensemble on Sunday.

Chicago Pro Musica will perform at 7 p.m. in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall located in the Music Building. They are appearing as part of the school’s Spring Guest Artist Series.

Chicago Pro Musica was awarded the Grammy as “Best New Classical Artist” in 1986, becoming the only ensemble in the history of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences ever to achieve this distinction.

The ensemble is made up of several skilled musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and was organized in 1979 by clarinetist John Bruce Yeh.

A large portion of their work is devoted to introducing works of contemporary composers as well as performing 20th-century masterpieces.

Chicago Pro Musica’s repertoire ranges from the Baroque era to the present day. They recently held a six-concert tour of Japan where they appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts and premiered a new piece in Osaka.

The ensemble is of varying size, said Music Faculty Assistant Louise Pfuhl. A quartet will play Sunday, consisting of a violin, cello, piano and clarinet.

The program will include Largo by Charles Ives and Igor Stravinsky’s Suite from L’Histoire du Soldat, both for violin, clarinet and piano. Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps for violin, clarinet, cello and piano, written while Messiaen was a prisoner in a concentration camp, also will be performed.

Pianist and composer Easley Blackwood, who is a member of the quartet and studied with Messiaen, will be speaking Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Music building, Rm. 201 about Messiaen’s piece.

Pfuhl said, “This is a very famous and well known group. We are very lucky to have them performing on our campus. Besides that, the price is right.”

The cost of tickets is $5 for adults and $2 for students and senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased at the door.