The award-winning Akropolis Reed Quintet will perform in this year’s annual Shirley and Chas Hockett Chamber Music Concert Series at Ithaca College on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 4 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music. The group will also host a workshop and several master classes on Feb. 18. All events are free and open to the public.
Founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan, the Akropolis Reed Quintet has won six national chamber music prizes since 2011, including the 2014 Fischoff Gold Medal. The quintet also won the 2015 Fischoff Educator Award.
Akropolis has commissioned more than 25 works from composers in seven countries, and was selected to premiere the winner of the 2018 Barlow Prize funded by the Barlow Endowment. The quintet’s remarkable list of series and festival appearances include stops at Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest and the Chautauqua Music Festival in 2016-2017. The quintet was also selected as a juried showcase participant at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Chamber Music America, Performing Arts Exchange and the Mid-Atlantic Performing Arts Market.
Akropolis has sold over 125 original arranged sheet music works to more than 30 new and established reed quintets after establishing Akropolis Collection in 2012. With three studio releases, Akropolis has recorded 17 original reed quintet works and, by the end of the 2016-2017 season, will have performed, recorded or published the work of 21 American composers.
Established as a permanent endowment in 2000, the Shirley and Chas Hockett Chamber Music Concert Series honors two longtime educators and musicians.
Chas, who passed away in 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. Chas also had a passion for music, which he shared with his wife, Shirley, and with their five children. He wrote a number of works, including an opera, “Dona Rosita,” which was performed by the Ithaca Opera Association in the early 1970s.
Shirley, who passed away in September 2013, was also an accomplished educator, author and music lover. After teaching at Cornell for 20 years, she began teaching at Ithaca College in 1966 and was appointed full professor in 1973. Shortly after her retirement in 1991, she was named Professor Emerita of Mathematics by the Ithaca College Board of Trustees. Chas also played the bass clarinet; Shirley was a clarinetist, and together they performed with the Ithaca Concert Band.
The Shirley and Chas Hockett Library of Ensemble Music in the Whalen Center was named in the Hocketts’ honor in 1999, and three years later, a second venue in the Whalen Center, the Hockett Family Recital Hall, was dedicated.