Centennial Commissions, Vol. II
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The Pro Arte Quartet comes full circle. They began as a Belgian ensemble and have commissioned a Belgian and a French-Canadian composer to celebrate their centennial.

This recording celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Pro Arte Quartet -- the oldest string quartet continuously in existence and the first university-ensemble residency in the United States -- plus the dramatic story of how a prominent European quartet became an American one. Founded in Belgium in 1912, the Pro Arte Quartet became stranded while on tour in Madison, Wisconsin in 1940 when the Nazis invaded their country. The University of Wisconsin offered this quartet in exile a permanent home at the university, where it has remained ever since. Six new chamber works were commissioned to celebrate this occasion -- now all available on compact disc. This disc contains String Quartet No. 3 by Benoît Mernier (b. 1964), the leading Belgian composer of his generation and Pierre Jalbert's (b. 1967) work for clarinet and string quartet. Jalbert is the recipient of many awards, including the BBC Masterprize and teaches composition at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Mernier, also the recipient of commissions and awards, is also a virtuoso organist. He was inducted into the Royal Academy of Belgium in 2007.
Benoît Mernier, composer
String Quartet No. 3
The Pro Arte Quartet

Pierre Jalbert, composer
The Pro Arte Quartet; Charles Neidich, clarinet

Review to come.
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