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Final Event of U.Va.’s African-American Heritage Month

Marian Anderson String Quartet Brings 3-Days Of Music Into Charlottesville Classrooms, Closing With Free Concert At U.Va.

February 26, 2002-- The Marian Anderson String Quartet will offer the final events of the University of Virginia’s 2002 African-American Heritage Month program.

The Marian Anderson Quartet tries "to do for classical music what Jackie Robinson did for baseball," according to the classical instrumental group, which is based in Bryan, Texas. Members believe that listening to and understanding great music of all kinds is a birthright of all people, regardless of their backgrounds. The quartet has performed nationally and internationally in venues ranging from world-renowned concert halls to neighborhood soup kitchens.

The quartet will offer several performances in the Charlottesville city schools and at U.Va., March 1-3. Performances will showcase works spanning the history of classical string quartet music, with special emphasis on 20th century music by African-American composers.

Named after the well-known contralto, Marian Anderson, the quartet has performed classical music together for 12 years. "In midst of racial strife, her antidote was to open her mouth and sing," said Diedra Lawrence, quartet member.

The Marian Anderson Quartet includes violinist Marianne Henry, violinist Nicole Cherry, violist Diedra Lawrence, and cellist Michael Cameron. Guest pianist Lura Johnson also will perform.

More than just a touring group, the Marian Anderson String Quartet tries to spend time in the communities it visits, and includes performances in schools to build audiences for classical music.

The quartet’s visit to Charlottesville will include:

    • March 1, two all-school assemblies at Buford Middle School; a master class at Charlottesville High School; and an assembly at Venable Elementary School for third- and fourth-graders from most of the city’s after-school programs.
    • March 2, an afternoon for young people associated with the Music Resource Center and those from at-risk neighborhoods at the Quality Community Council, a Charlottesville organization working with residents to improve the quality of city life.
    • March 3, a concert in U.Va.’s Newcomb Hall Ballroom at 3 p.m., which is free and open to the public.

The appearance of the Marian Anderson String Quartet is sponsored by U.Va.’s Office of African-American Affairs, the Alpha Phi Alpha sorority, the Quality Community Council, the City of Charlottesville, and U.Va.’s Cultural Programming Board.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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