MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-The wish of a generous donor comes true Sunday, Nov. 23, when the Muir String Quartet visits Middlebury College for a free afternoon concert at 3 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The program for the Middlebury concert includes selections by Beethoven, Brahms and Erwin Schulhoff.
The Middlebury College Performing Arts Series added this performance to its fall schedule thanks to a grant from the Institute for Clinical Science and Art, a charitable foundation that supports chamber music programs and the publication of medical journals. The foundation, now based in Whiting, Vt., was established by the late Dr. F. William Sunderman of Philadelphia, who was a pathologist. His son, Dr. F. William Sunderman Jr., a director of the institute, is a pathologist as well, and a Middlebury College visiting scholar in chemistry. The Muir concert will be given in memory of his wife, Dr. Carolyn Sunderman, who died last year. Carolyn and F. William Sunderman Jr. are the parents of Frederick Sunderman, a 1998 Middlebury College graduate, and Emily Sunderman, a 1991 alumna of the Middlebury College French School.
The Muir String Quartet is celebrating its 25th season this year. Since 1980, the Muir has appeared regularly in concert halls throughout North America and Europe, earning accolades for its interpretations of both classical and contemporary works.
Formed in 1979 after the principles graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, the Muir Quartet won early acclaim in the 1980 Evian International String Quartet Competition. The following year, the quartet won the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. Since then the group, in residence at Boston University's College of Fine Arts since 1983, has performed around the world and collaborated with numerous composers of contemporary works. Among the group's teaching endeavors is its involvement for more than a decade in the Advanced Quartet Program at the Summit Institute for the Arts and Humanities in Utah.
"The Muir, as everyone knows, is a first-class ensemble," declared the Boston Globe. Critics enjoy the group's style, personality and deft handling of the classics. The San Francisco Examiner noted the quartet's "impeccable voicing and intonation." The Houston Chronicle called the Muir's playing "exquisitely nuanced" and "captivating."
The Muir Quartet takes its name from renowned naturalist, explorer and Sierra Club founder John Muir. In that spirit, the ensemble donates proceeds from its EcoClassics CDs to environmental and conservation organizations. Its recording of Beethoven quartets on this label won a 1995 Grammy nomination. The Muir also records for ADDA/Qualition and EMI and has received two Grand Prix du Disque honors.
The Middlebury Center for the Arts is on South Main Street (Route 30). No tickets are required for this performance, but concert-goers are advised to arrive early. Doors to the Concert Hall open at 2:30 p.m. For information, call the College Box Office at 802-443-6433 or visit online at www.middlebury.edu/arts/.
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