Sister Bay, Wis. (October 30, 2020) – Hailed for their “superb playing, palpable chemistry, spirit, and emotional connection,” Midsummer’s Music’s quartet in residence, the Griffon String Quartet, announces its third season of concerts, community outreach, and educational events. Building on the success of their first two seasons – having performed for audiences of close to 5,000 in the region – the musicians look forward to expanding their following and providing much needed musical experiences during these unusual times.
Educational offerings include weekly private strings lessons through the YMCA in Sturgeon Bay and the Fine Arts Institute at East High School in Green Bay. At Washington Middle School, quartet members offer virtual instruction – funded by the Fine Arts Institute and Mosaic Arts “We’re All In” grant – to more than 100 orchestra students. Children at the Boys & Girls Club of Door County receive an entertaining series of weekly educational videos from quartet members about instruments, techniques, and music. Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck expressed her delight saying, “We are thrilled that the Griffon can continue its mission of enhancing student learning and academic achievement through increased exposure to – and participation in – music in ways that are safe for everyone.”
Four live-streamed programs, which can be accessed at www.midsummersmusic.com, will be scheduled throughout the 2020-2021 school year, starting with a presentation at 3:00 pm (CT) on November 15. This first program of the season will include Mozart’s Divertimento K.563 and Dohnányi’s Serenade in C Major, Op. 10. The December 20 program at 3:00 pm (CT) will include various works from the Griffon’s classical repertoire plus holiday favorites. Additional offerings in December will include the distribution of holiday-themed virtual greetings and performances to partner organizations, students, donors, schools, and communities throughout northeast Wisconsin.
The Griffon will perform for the Door County Reads’ “Big Read” event in February, spotlighting music from the time of Shakespeare. Door County Reads is a winter program that encourages the community to read and discuss a book while celebrating it with theatrical and musical performances, writing workshops, lectures and other events related to the book and its culture.
For generous Griffon donor communities – the 88 Key Society, Friends of the Griffon, and the Green Bay Chamber Music Society – quartet members will provide exclusive online concerts from December through May, including facilitated conversations with members of the donor groups, as well as a series of virtual home concerts.
The Griffon recently embarked on a special mentorship program with the world-renowned Pro Arte Quartet at UW-Madison, enabling the ensemble’s members to further their personal development through group discussions, private lessons, and chamber music coaching from the seasoned professionals. Future plans with the Pro Arte Quartet include community performances and educational outreach. Griffon violist Blakeley Menghini remarked, “This mentorship is an incredible experience allowing us to grow as artists, individuals, and a more cohesive ensemble.”
One of the most vibrant and engaging quartets of their generation, the Griffon String Quartet was formed in the fall of 2018 as a collaboration between Midsummer’s Music, the Fine Arts Institute at East High in Green Bay, and St. Norbert College in De Pere. The quartet is a groundbreaking project to enrich the lives of children and adults throughout northeast Wisconsin through concerts, workshops, and music education outreach. Extraordinary musicians who have performed with orchestras and ensembles around the globe in the finest halls from Carnegie Hall and Brazil’s Teatro Municipal de São Paulo to Japan’s Suntory Hall, and won prestigious music competitions and awards, they are equally dedicated to music education and inspiring the next generation of music lovers. Each member of the Griffon String Quartet has advanced degrees and significant professional experience, both as educators and performers, and the ensemble has been recognized for “their youthful vigor, which is absolutely infectious!”
Recognized as, “one of the greatest quartets of our time” by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Pro Arte Quartet includes David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violins, Sally Chisholm, viola, and Parry Karp, cello. Founded by conservatory students in Brussels in 1912, it became one of the most celebrated ensembles in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century and was named Court Quartet to the Queen of Belgium. Today, the Pro Arte Quartet performs throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia and continues to champion both standard repertoire and new music.
Midsummer’s Music was co-founded in 1990 by Jim and Jean Berkenstock, long-time Door County summer residents and principal orchestral players with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. What began as two concerts among friends has become one of the Midwest’s most anticipated chamber music series, bringing thousands of chamber music enthusiasts from around the globe to the magical Door County Peninsula.