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September 20, 2013

New season features favorite performers, new discoveries

A multitude of renowned chamber music groups and soloists will headline the Eastman School’s Eastman-Ranlet and Kilbourn Concert Series in the 2013-14 season.

Internationally touring artists such as pianist and Kennedy Center honoree Leon Fleisher, the Tetzlaff Quartet, and tenor Nicholas Phan are among the acclaimed musicians who will be performing on the stage of Kilbourn Hall.

The Eastman-Ranlet Series, which features outstanding quartets presenting works from the classical and contemporary string repertoire on Sundays at 3 p.m., opens on Oct. 6 with the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Since winning both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1992, the quartet has maintained a busy touring schedule throughout North America.

The Eastman Ranlet Series continues on Nov. 17 with Eastman’s quartet-in-residence, the Ying Quartet. Winners of the 1994 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and nominated for a Grammy three times, the group won the 2005 award for Best Classical Crossover Album for its work with the Turtle Island String Quartet on the album 4 + Four. The Ying Quartet returns and will be joined by pianist Leon Fleisher on Feb. 23. Fleisher’s Sony Classical recordings of repertoire for the left hand and the Ravel and Prokofiev Concertos earned two Grammy nominations. His numerous honors include Commander in the French Order of Arts and Letters, Musical America’s and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s “Instrumentalist of the Year,” and several honorary doctors. Fleisher received the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors for his contribution to U.S. culture.

The Eastman-Ranlet series wraps up on March 2, with the Pacifica Quartet. After they won numerous top competitions including the 1998 Naumburg Chamber Music Award, the Pacifica Quartet became the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 2009 to 2012. In 2009, the quartet was named “Ensemble of the Year” by Musical America and won a 2009 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance.

The Kilbourn Concert Series, held on Tuesdays at 8 p.m., launches its new season with the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings on Oct. 15. The ensemble’s appearance will be a homecoming for trombonist Maury Okun, an Eastman graduate. With performances reaching from the United States to Switzerland, the 23-member group has commissioned 30 new works and released five recordings.

A week later, on Oct. 22, the Kilbourn Concert Series features the Tetzlaff Quartet. The quartet was formed in 1994 and has been called “one of the world’s most fascinating chamber ensembles” by La Nazione.

The Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet will be performing in Kilbourn Hall on Feb. 18, 2014. The quintet features two Eastman alumni on trumpet, Tage Larsen and Christopher Martin. The touring artists represent the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s distinct “Chicago sound” from their booming brass section. The CSO’s vast catalog of 900 recordings has earned them 62 Grammy Awards.

The Schumann Trio will join the series on March 4. Violist Michael Tree, an original member of the Guarneri Quartet, is joined by Anna Polonsky on piano and Anthony McGill on clarinet.

The Kilbourn Concert Series concludes with Nicholas Phan singing music of Britten on March 18, joined by Gail Williams on French horn and Myra Huang on piano. Considered one of the rising young stars of the opera world, Phan has appeared with major orchestras in the United States and Great Britain. His first solo album, Winter Words, made “The Best of 2011” lists of The New York Times, The New Yorker, the Boston Globe, and other publications.

Series subscriptions are currently on sale and range from $48 to $74 and include all the concerts in each series. Individual tickets for individual concerts range from $15 to $25 and will go on sale after Oct. 1, if available. Tickets are available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 454-2100, or online at

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