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  The Chamber Music Society of Detroit will present the  Vera Quartet with pianist Meng-Chieh Liu at 7:30 p.m. March 13  at The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms.

The Chamber Music Society of Detroit will present the Vera Quartet with pianist Meng-Chieh Liu at 7:30 p.m. March 13 at The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Photo provided by the Chamber Music Society of Detroit


Young musicians to dazzle audiences at The War Memorial

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 10, 2020

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Fans of classical and chamber music will have a chance to see emerging talent close to home.

The Chamber Music Society of Detroit will present the Vera Quartet with pianist Meng-Chieh Liu at 7:30 p.m. March 13 at The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms.

A group of young musicians who had served as the graduate quartet in residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, the Vera Quartet was the grand prize winner of both the Plowman and Yellow Springs chamber music competitions, and it is the current string quartet in residence at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

“The Vera Quartet is a celebrated and highly awarded ensemble, and has played in some of the world’s most famous halls,” Brooks Hoste, the vice president of community engagement and programming for The War Memorial, said in an email interview. “It’s such an honor to welcome them to our stage, here in the heart of Grosse Pointe. In fact, we’re very fortunate at The War Memorial and throughout our community to routinely have the opportunity to experience such impressive performances.”

The concert is part of the Curtis on Tour series. The program will include Beethoven’s Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4; Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor; and String Quartet No. 4 — “Silent Temple,” by Ann Arbor composer Bright Sheng.

Steve Wogaman, the president of the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, said Liu and the Vera Quartet are phenomenal on their own.

“With the two of them together, it’s going to be incredible,” Wogaman said.

The War Memorial performance is part of a series Wogaman launched with War Memorial President and CEO Charles Burke in September 2018, when they featured the Pacifica Quartet. The Vera Quartet was mentored by the Pacifica Quartet, bringing everything full circle.

“It’s been such a joy for The War Memorial to partner with the Chamber Music Society of Detroit,” Hoste said. “CMSD’s mission of bringing together inspired musicians and passionate listeners is a hand-in-glove fit for The War Memorial’s goal of facilitating connectivity and presenting world-class performing arts. The caliber of artists booked by CMSD and presented at The War Memorial is truly staggering: These are today’s leaders of classical music, living artistic legends.”

The Curtis Institute of Music is a small, private school that only admits enough students to compose a symphony orchestra — about 175 students in all, Wogaman said.

“This is the most elite music school in the world,” Wogaman said. “The list of musicians who have come out of there just boggles the mind.”

They include conductor and pianist Leonard Bernstein, pianist and composer Samuel Barber, pianist Lang Lang and Pulitzer Prize-winning musician and composer Jennifer Higdon, among others.

Wogaman said the Vera Quartet has “a beautifully polished sound” that audiences should appreciate. And he said people who aren’t familiar with classical or chamber music shouldn’t feel intimidated.

“We exist to move you with this music — not teach you with this music,” he said.

Concerts like these are special moments for audiences and performers.

“There’s an electricity in the air during every concert, as the audience and performers become joined together by something far greater than soundwaves and acoustics — in that moment of live performance, both the audience and artists are experiencing something that will never, ever occur again,” Hoste said. “The music exists only in that moment, and it’s remarkable to share in that. This experience is why The War Memorial is so committed to the musical arts, and why we will always strive to be a leader in the cultural sector.”

Liu and the Vera Quartet also will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 14 at the Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton, and at 3 p.m. March 15 at Oakland University’s Varner Recital Hall in Rochester Hills. Tickets for the concerts cost $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, $10 for students and $45 for premium seating. For tickets or more information, call the Chamber Music Society of Detroit at (313) 335-3300 or visit www.cmsdetroit.org.