When the Music in the Loft chamber series started a decade ago in the West Loop home of music lover Fredda Hyman, the fledgling Ying Quartet was its very first booking. This weekend, a reunion of sorts will take place, with both the quartet and the series now far better known. The Yings (three brothers and one sister from the North Shore) formed their foursome in 1991. Within three years, they'd nabbed the prestigious Naumburg Award. Between '92 and '94 they lived in Iowa as part of a National Endowment for the Arts initiative to introduce chamber music to rural areas; during that residency, they commissioned Chicago composer Ralph Shapey to write a quartet, and to the surprise of many, the gnarly, elemental work went over well in the farmland. Five years later, now at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and with a solidly established reputation, the quartet began commissioning other composers to beef up the American string quartet repertoire. Music in the Loft shares the quartet's energetic curiosity. Its dual mission is to restore chamber music to its salon origins and to promote talented musicians and composers under 40. Both goals have been admirably served by introducing the Corigliano, Pacific, and Avalon quartets; the Amelia Trio; pianist Adam Neiman; and Chicago composers Sebastian Huydts and Ricardo Lorenz. This season's featured composer is 30-year-old Carter Pann, who has written a concerto for clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and a quartet for the Yings. The program on Saturday comprises Pann's Love Letters and William Bolcom's Three Rags for String Quartet (pieces from the Ying's current project), and Beethoven's Quartet no. 13 in B-flat. On Sunday, the Yings will be joined by Chicago Symphony Orchestra clarinetist John Bruce Yeh, another of the series' alums, in Brahms's Clarinet Quintet; the rest of the program consists of Love Letters and Beethoven's Quartet no. 4 in C Minor. Saturday, September 21, 8 PM, and Sunday, September 22, 3 PM, Music in the Loft, 1017 W. Washington; 312-243-9233.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Antonio Barbagallo.