UTC Hosts Marian Anderson String Quartet, Composer Forum 2/20 - 2/22

Feb 18, 2014

Dr. Jonathan McNair discusses the Southeastern Composers League Forum coming up at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

From a media release:

The award-winning Marian Anderson String Quartet will conduct a musical residency in Chattanooga, on February 20th through 22nd, 2014. This acclaimed quartet is the first African-American classical music ensemble to win an international competition. These four gifted, highly accomplished women will be hosted by Dr. Jonathan McNair and the UTC Music Department, in collaboration with the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. The Quartet will perform a concert open to the public on Friday, February 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall at UTC. Admission will be $5.00 per person.

Additionally, the Marian Anderson String Quartet will offer programs and a master-class at local public schools, as well as a session in which the Quartet will play through and critique new music written by young composers from across the Southeast. This residency is supported financially by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the UTC Office for Equity and Diversity, the Ruth S. Holmberg Chair in American Music, the Speakers and Special Events Fund at UTC, and the Chattanoogan Hotel. Additional information may be found at www.utc.edu/music, or call 423-425-4679.

Formed in 1989 as the Chaminade Quartet, this ensemble won the international Cleveland Quartet Competition in 1991. After this considerable achievement, the members sought permission to be named after the famed African American operatic singer Marian Anderson. Ms. Anderson granted permission, and the group continued to make history, performing at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, the Corcoran Gallery, the Library of Congress, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Kilbourn Hall, The University of Southern California and the Chateau Cantanac-Brown in Bordeaux, France.

The Quartet’s distinguished history includes performances through the Da Camera Society, the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 1993, the Marian Anderson String Quartet performed at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center as part of the 52nd presidential inaugural celebration. In 2008, they won the Guarneri Prize from Chamber Music America.

These talented women were the Quartet in Residence at the City College of New York (1990-1995), and were Ensemble in Residence at California State University-Los Angeles (1995 -1999).  In 2001, the Quartet completed a graduate fellowship program at the acclaimed Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The Marian Anderson String Quartet is currently on the faculty of Blinn College in Bryan, TX. In 2010, the Quartet founded the Marian Anderson String Quartet Community Music School, a non-profit organization in Bryan/College Station, TX.

The LA Times stated that "In the presence of the (Marian) Anderson String Quartet you feel as if everything’s going to be alright for classical music, as if a little Beethoven and Brahms might just solve the world’s problems."

The Marian Anderson String Quartet Residency coincides with the Southeastern Composers League Forum, hosted by the UTC Music Department, and coordinated by Dr. Jonathan McNair, who is president of the Southeastern Composers League. In addition to the Quartet performance on Feb. 21, this Forum will offer seven concerts open to the public with free admission, featuring UTC music faculty and students as well as the Southern Adventist University Symphony Orchestra, pianist Walton Lott, and guest artists from Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. A complete schedule of concerts may be found at www.utc.edu/music. The Southeastern Composers League [www.southeasterncomposersleague.org] was founded in 1950s to explore and promote new music in the modern classical tradition. It is one of the oldest organizations of its kind in America. Many of the SCL members hold or are retired from faculty positions in universities and other educational institutions in fifteen southeastern states. Others are independent composers and performers.


First violinist, Marianne Henry, has toured extensively as a founding member of the Marian Anderson String Quartet. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Ms. Henry holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in violin performance, from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. She received a second Master’s degree in String Quartet Performance at The Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas. Ms. Henry has been a featured soloist with the List-Glenn Festival Chamber Orchestra, the South-Central Chamber Orchestra and the Afro American Symphony. She has been involved in myriad of other orchestra work, which includes Phantom of the Opera, the Academy Award Orchestra, and The American Music Awards.

Nicole Cherry, Second Violinist, a native of the Washington, DC area, discovered her dream job in music after hearing the Marian Anderson String Quartet perform nearly 20 years ago at the world renowned Lincoln Performing Arts Center in New York City. A graduate of the Julliard School with a Master of Music degree in violin performance, Ms. Cherry performs concerts and educational seminars, playing and exploring the essence of European classical music, and collaborating with some of the world’s most established artists. Her past performances in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia include a tour as a featured soloist in Israel, Egypt, Jordan and South Africa.

A founding member of the Marian Anderson String Quartet, dedicated teacher, and eloquent public speaker, violist Diedra Lawrence has shared her passion for chamber music through both her instrument and the spoken word. A native of New York City, Ms. Lawrence received her Bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a Master’s degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Ms. Lawrence has been a guest artist with the Southwest Chamber Ensemble, performed as a concerto soloist for both the List-Glenn Chamber Music festival and the Symphony Camerata.

Cellist Prudence McDaniel, a native of Des Moines, Iowa holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Drake University, Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, and an Artist Diploma from Dequesne University. Ms. McDaniel has performed as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician throughout the United States and in Portugal. Through participation in the Minority Orchestral Fellowship Program, McDaniel was a section cellist with both the Houston and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. She has also been principal cellist with River Cities Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and an Associate member of the Columbus Symphony.