The Avalon Quartet joined the NIU School of Music as Artist Faculty String-Quartet-in-Residence in the fall of 2007.
The members of the Avalon Quartet are Blaise Magnière - 1st violin, Marie Wang - 2nd violin, Anthony Devroye - viola, and Cheng-Hou Lee- ‘cello. They will teach applied lessons and coach chamber music, and will be active in their performance career, bringing attention to the NIU School of Music from the concert stage and in other outreach activities. They will annually perform a number of concerts on campus and on a concert series produced by NIU in Chicago.
The Avalon quartet was founded in 1995, held residencies at Northern Illinois University and the Hartt School, and has been the faculty quartet-in-residence at the Indiana University-South Bend Raclin School of the Arts for the past four years.
The quartet garnered attention as prize winners in major competitions including 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 Munich Competition. The quartet also received awards at the 1998 Banff and 1999 Melbourne competitions. Their debut CD, "Dawn to Dusk," was awarded the 2002 Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Award.
The Avalon Quartet has performed in numerous major venues including Carnegie-Weill Recital Hall, New York’s Merkin Hall, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, the Music Alp Festival in Seoul, Korea, London’s Wigmore Hall, Herculessal in Munich, and the Ravinia Festival.
The Quartet is represented by John Gingrich Management in New York City, whose roster includes performers of international repute such as Charles Rosen, Kim Kashkashian, and Gunther Schuller.
Blaise, who was born in France, earned his Bachelor of Music at McGill University in Montreal, his Master of Music from Cleveland Institute of Music, and an Artist Diploma from the Juilliard School. Blaise holds the Richard O. Ryan Endowed Chair in Violin at NIU.
Marie, born of Chinese parents in Canada, earned her Lucentiate Diploma and Bachelor of Music from McGill University, her Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University, and an Artist Diploma from the Juilliard School.
Anthony (Tony) was born in Belgium and raised in the US. His Bachelor of Arts in Biological Science from Columbia University was complemented by viola studies in the Juilliard School, and he earned a diploma in viola from the Curtis Institute of Music.
Cheng-Hou Lee is a native of Taiwan, who moved to the US while in high school. His Bachelor and Master of Music degrees are from the Juilliard School and his Master of Chamber Music is from the Rice University Shepherd School of Music. He has completed doctoral studies and is ABD at the New England Conservatory of Music.
"We welcome the arrival of an outstanding group of individuals in the Avalon Quartet, as they follow in the influential footsteps of the Vermeer Quartet, a respected icon at NIU for a remarkable 38 years. While they have big shoes to fill, the faculty of the Avalon Quartet are unquestionably ready to join us as colleagues, both intellectually and artistically, and we can expect great things from these wonderful people. The university community is in for a treat, as the Avalon Quartet impressed us all with their sublime artistry, insightful perspectives, and delightful personalities," said Paul Bauer, Director of the School of Music.