The Avalon Quartet
- Blaise Magnière, violin
- Marie Wang, violin
- Anthony Devroye, viola
- Cheng-Hou Lee, cello
The graceful lines and bold colors of the illuminated pages from the 15th-century Hours of Catherine of Cleves inspired Stacy Garrop’s String Quartet No. 4, which lent its title to this deeply satisfying recording. The Avalon String Quartet, playing with great warmth and tenderness, appears to have a special sensitivity for this sort of music, anchored in its own time even as it displays its ancient roots proudly. Osvaldo Golijov’s keening “Tenebrae,” based on source material from Couperin, is another such work, as is Britten’s Three Divertimenti. An elegant reading of Debussy’s String Quartet in G rounds out the program.
The New York Times
The AVALON QUARTET has been concertizing throughout the US and abroad since 1995 and was described by the Chicago Tribune as an ensemble that invites your — ears, mind, and spirit — into its music. 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.
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 Herkulessaal 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.
Guest Artist MEGAN CRAWFORD is a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony and has performed throughout the United States, appearing with orchestras in Ann Arbor, Aspen, Basalt, Dearborn, Detroit, Ft. Collins, and New York. During the 2015-16 academic year, she was Visiting Professor of Violin at Grand Valley State University.
Ms. Crawford has been the recipient of numerous awards including a fellowship to the Aspen Music Festival; the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Bradlin Award; an Upton Foundation Grant for the Meadowmount School of Music; the Francis B. Furlong Scholarship for the University of Michigan; and a Governor’s Award nominee in the Emerging Artist category. Ms. Crawford won the concerto competitions at both the University of Michigan and the Manhattan School of Music; has been a prizewinner in the Florida ASTA Competition, the Ft. Collins Symphony Young Artist Competition, and the Corpus Christi International Young Artist Competition; and has participated in the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition in New York City.
GREGORY MAYTAN has been praised by The Strad for his ‘infectious vitality,’ ‘lyrical freshness,’ and ‘sparkling energy’. Other reviewers of his records and concerts have noted his ‘brilliant playing’ (Jacobsson, HiFi magazine) and his ‘heart-racing excitement and verve’ (Scott, Strings Magazine); he has been praised as ‘a technically extraordinarily well-versed violinist’ (Loskant, Nordseezeitung), and also for ‘his lovely, deep and profound sound’ (Hultman, Vasterbottens Kuririen). His recent ‘confident’ performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto was described as ‘vigorous and intelligent’ and ‘beautifully expressed and nuanced’ (Sparks, Commercial Appeal)
Maytan performs regularly as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician and has performed extensively in Europe and the US. He has performed chamber music with the likes of Dylana Jenson, Bernt Lysell, and Mathias Tacke (Vermeer Quartet). Recent engagements include multiple performances of the Beethoven, Prokofiev, Paganini, Sibelius, Bruch, Maier, Beethoven, Barber and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos with orchestras in Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, South Dakota and Sweden.
PAUL SWANTEK, viola, retired from the Air Force in 2006 after 20 years of service and recently accepted a position with The Grand Rapids Symphony as violist and as Affiliate Professor at Grand Valley State University.
As Principal Violist with the USAF Strings and Orchestra he has performed for every U.S. President since George H. W. Bush, and for such dignitaries as Margret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Queen Elizabeth, Boris Yeltsin, Nelson Mandela, Gerhard Schröder and Mikhail Gorbachev as well as the heads of state for almost every sovereign nation in the world.
Currently Swantek divides his time between Grand Rapids where he performs with the symphony and teaches at Grand Valley State University and Washington, D.C., where he continues his performance as a free-lance musician and principal violist with the National Gallery Orchestra.
PABLO MAHAVE-VEGLIA, is a cellist and teacher with broad interests whose repertoire ranges from the early Baroque, performed on period instruments, to his ongoing interest in researching, performing and recording the work of contemporary Latin-American composers.
Dr. Mahave-Veglia holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University and the Eastman School of Music. Additionally, he has attended such music festivals as Banff (Canada), NOI (Maryland), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), the Jerusalem International Festival (Israel) and the Schleswig-Holstein and Heidelberg Music Festivals (Germany).
Mahave-Veglia has appeared as soloist or chamber musician throughout Europe and South America. His “modern” instrument is a 1790 William Forster on loan to him by an anonymous private collector.
MICHAEL HOVNANIAN has been a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 2007 and is also the Associate Principal Bass of the West Michigan Symphony and Principal Bass of the Baroque on Beaver Island Festival. Michael has performed with numerous orchestras throughout Michigan, including the Detroit Symphony, and has held positions with the Kalamazoo, Midland, and Lansing symphonies. Dr. Hovnanian is also an active chamber and solo musician, and is a member of noted chamber group Ensemble Montage.
Born and raised in the metro Detroit area, Michael received his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees under the instruction of Jack Budrow at Michigan State University and received Bachelor degrees in both Music and Music Education from Central Michigan University. He has also studied with Stephen Molina and Larry Hutchinson of the Detroit Symphony, Robert Goodlett of the Indianapolis Symphony, and Lawrence Angell, formerly of the Cleveland Orchestra. Michael Hovnanian is an active double bass teacher, instructing a large private studio as well as being on faculty at Calvin College in addition to teaching at Grand Valley State University.
Several High School Orchestra Directors will be joining the camp to coach small ensembles.
Camp Administrator and Conductor
HENRY DUITMAN joined the faculty of Grand Valley State University in the Fall of 2008. For more than 20 years Duitman was the Music Director and Conductor of the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra as well as Professor of Music on the faculty of Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, during which time he built an orchestra program with national exposure.
Henry Duitman received the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University and Master of Arts degree from the University of South Florida. He earned his Ph.D. in Music Education from the Ohio State University.
Dr. Duitman's focus at GVSU has been exposing the orchestra program to the wider West Michigan community and to high schools throughout Michigan. He has instituted a yearly Side-by-Side Concert with top high school orchestras. In addition, his passion to develop an honors orchestra which would focus on the development of leadership skills in high school musicians has led to the highly successful GVSU String Leadership Day, which brings more than 100 of the finest high school string players to campus each year.
A sought-after guest conductor, recently he has led community and professional orchestras in Michigan,Iowa, South Dakota and London, England. He has conducted numerous honors orchestras including the Iowa All-State Orchestra and the Michigan Youth Arts Coalition Honors Orchestra.