Chamber Music Encounters


April 5-6, 2019

It is our pleasure to bring to you an intensive string chamber music program at Northern Illinois University. Chamber Music Encounters brings together some of the best high school string chamber ensembles in Illinois. The groups work with the Avalon String Quartet and John Floeter over the course of two days, ending with a performance. This focused work in a convivial setting gives the students a unique and enriching experience. The schedule will include coachings, classes on each instrument and a final performance.


Lodging will be provided at the Student Center on the NIU campus, a short walking distance from the School of Music. Each room accommodates two students. 

About the Event

The program begins at 5pm on Friday and ends at 3pm on Saturday.  Friday will include a faculty performance, a group discussion and coachings. Saturday will include more coachings, masterclasses, and a 1pm student performance.


Acceptance into the program is by audition.

Fee / Registration

The fee, which includes tuition, meals and accommodation, is $120 per student. Music Directors and chaperones pay a fee of $80 to cover accommodation and meal costs.

Enrollment is limited to 5 groups. Once your application has been accepted, complete the registration form

About the Avalon String Quartet

Described by the Chicago Tribune as "an ensemble that invites you-ears, mind, and spirit- into its music", the Avalon String Quartet has established itself as one of the country's leading chamber music ensembles. 

In the 2011-2012 season the Avalon performed the complete Beethoven quartet cycle at the Art Institute of Chicago in historic Fullerton Hall. During the 2013-2014 season, the quartet performed the complete Bartok cycle at the Art Institute of Chicago. In each of the six concerts a different Bartok quartet was paired with another masterpiece from the string quartet repertoire. They have performed in many major venues including Alice Tully Hall, 92nd St Y, Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington DC; Wigmore Hall in London and Herculessaal in Munich. Other performances include appearances at the Caramoor Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, NPR's St Paul Sunday, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Bargemusic, Dame Myra Hess Series and the Ravinia Festival. The quartet captured the top prize at the ARD Competition in Munich (2000) as well as the First Prize at Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York (1999). 

The Avalon is quartet-in-residence at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. As a part of their residency, they perform an annual concert series in Chicago and DeKalb, and the quartet members teach individual studios and coach chamber music at the school. This follows previous residencies at the Juilliard School and at Indiana University South Bend. Additional teaching activities have included the Interlochen Advanced Quartet Program, Madeline Island Music Camp, Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute and the Britten-Pears School in England. 

In 2010 the quartet released a CD of contemporary American works on the Albany label to much critical acclaim. The Avalon Quartet's debut CD, Dawn to Dusk, including the Ravel and the Janacek Second Quartets, was honored with the 2002 Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Award for best chamber music recording.

The Quartet's live performances and conversation are frequently featured on Chicago's WFMT-FM, including a recent nationally syndicated live broadcast of Exploring Music with Bill MacGlaughlin. They have also been heard on New York's WQXR-FM and WNYC-FM, National Public Radio's Performance Today, Canada's CBC, Australia's ABC, the ARD of Germany and France Musique. 

Special Guest: Anna Sanders-Lee

Cellist Anna Sanders Lee has worked with artists including Janos Starker, Colin Carr, Wendy Warner, Joseph Silverstein, Norman Fischer, Richard Aaron, Martin Katz, and Andrés Díaz. She has also attended summer festivals such as Scotia Fest in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Rencontres Musicales de Noyers in France where she studied with world-renowned cellist Gary Hoffmann. Her teachers have included Anthony Elliott, Rhonda Rider, Wesley Baldwin, and Janos Starker.

A native of East Tennessee, Anna received her undergraduate degree in Cello Performance from the University of Michigan where she was awarded both the Artistic Leadership Award and the Michigan Grant based on artistic and academic merit. Anna has recently performed at venues such as Symphony Center in Chicago, The University of Chicago, Millennium Park, and Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago as well as Kerrytown Concert House and Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.

Anna currently serves on the Cello Faculty at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. She received Suzuki training from Sally Gross, Tanya Carey, and Nancy Jackson.

In Summer 2017, Anna became the cellist of the Volta String Quartet.

Anna resides in Chicago with her husband, Cheng-Hou, also a cellist, and their miniature poodle, Messi, not a cellist.

Special Guest: John Floeter

John Floeter is currently Principal Bass of the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Lake Forest Symphony and is a member of the Grant Park Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. He has performed, toured, and recorded with the Chicago Symphony and played several productions with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, including several cycles of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. In addition, Mr. Floeter enjoys playing with the Milwaukee Symphony, the Ravinia Festival orchestra, Fulcrum Point, Ars Viva, and Chicago Opera Theatre. He has had a decades-long association with the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic/Symphony II.

Mr. Floeter is a co-founder of the Chicago Bass Ensemble and has been a guest lecturer and performer for area universities and the Chicago Bass Festival. He has been an active bassist in the Chicago area since 1979, covering multiple genres of music, including classical, jazz, folk, and musical theater.

Contact Us

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Office of External Programs
Music Building, room 132

Kristin Sherman

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