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The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet -- hailed by critics as one of the country's most charismatic and versatile ensembles -- will be this year's performers in the Shirley and Chas Hockett Chamber Music Concert Series at Ithaca College. The concert will take place on Saturday, February 14, at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music.

Named after two longtime educators, the concert series honors the Hocketts' love of music and devotion to Ithaca College and its School of Music. The free concert will include works by Igor Stravinsky, Franz Liszt, Sérgio Assad, Astor Piazzolla, and Chick Corea.

The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet's four virtuosi -- John Dearman, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, and Andrew York -- bring a new energy to the concert stage with their eclectic programs and dynamic musical interplay. Their inventive, critically acclaimed transcriptions of concert masterworks provide a fresh look at the music of the past, while their interpretations of works from the contemporary and world-music realms continually break new ground.

The LAGQ has appeared with the top orchestras of Europe, Asia, and the United States. In recent seasons the group has been heard on such popular radio programs as Performance Today, St. Paul Sunday, and World Café." LAGQ has also been featured on CNN's Show Biz Today, CBS's Saturday Morning, and A&E's Breakfast with the Arts. "LAGQ-Latin," the ensemble's most recent release, was nominated for a Grammy.

The first performance in the Shirley and Chas Hockett Chamber Music Series was given by the Bach Aria Group on October 25, 2000, the anniversary of the day Shirley and Chas Hockett first met in a mathematics course at the University of Michigan. Chas, who passed away in November 2000, enjoyed a distinguished academic career at Cornell University, from which he retired in 1982 as the Goldwin Smith Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics. He also had a passion for music, which he shared with his wife Shirley, professor emerita of mathematics at Ithaca College, and with their five children. He wrote a number of works, including an opera, Dońa Rosita, which was performed by the Ithaca Opera Association in the early 1970s. After retiring from Cornell, Hockett devoted himself to composing solo and chamber music.

Whereas Chas began performing in early childhood, Shirley did not play an instrument until she was 57, when she began studying the clarinet. Within a year she was performing publicly as a member of the Ithaca Concert Band alongside Chas, who played the bass clarinet. Both were active with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and Shirley, who was the president of the board of directors from 1979 to 1984, continues to serve on the CCO board as director emerita.

The Hocketts' sustained support for the School of Music led Ithaca College to establish the chamber music series, for which Shirley has provided a permanent endowment. The Shirley and Chas Hockett Library of Ensemble Music in the Whalen Center was named in their honor in 1999. In April 2002 a second venue in the Whalen Center, the Hockett Family Recital Hall, was dedicated as a memorial to the Hocketts' love of music and their loyalty to the College and the School of Music.

Related Links:
  • The Hockett Chamber Music Series 2004
  • The School of Music's Concert Calendar

    Contributed by Erik Kibelsbeck

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