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 Mathias Tacke 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. 


View the tentative schedule for the event.


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. 

About Mathias Tacke

Mathias Tacke, violin, was the second violinist of the acclaimed Vermeer Quartet from 1992 until 2007 and prior to that a member of the Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, one of the most important professional groups specializing in contemporary music. In this capacity he gave countless first performances, including works by most of today’s leading composers.

With the Vermeer Quartet he gave performances in practically all of the most prestigious festivals, including Tanglewood, Taos, Ravinia, South Bank, Berlin, to name only a few. He appears internationally as a soloist and chamber player, performing a wide range of repertoire from the Baroque to music of our time and has made numerous recordings for such labels as Sony, ECM, Harmonia Mundi, Naxos and Cedille. Three of the Vermeer Quartet recordings were nominated for the Grammy Award.

Mr. Tacke is Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Northern Illinois University and Guest Lecturer for String Chamber Music at Northwestern University.

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

Kristin Sherman

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