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Biography

One of the world’s distinguished string quartets, the PRO ARTE QUARTET maintains a three-fold commitment to the performance of chamber music. The quartet promotes an exciting balance of old and new repertoire, seeking opportunities to commission and premiere works of living composers in a variety of contemporary styles. It forges a passionate connection with audiences of diverse backgrounds through a full schedule of concerts, tours, recordings, and broadcasts. The Pro Arte Quartet also honors its past as the first ensemble-in-residence at a major American university, serving the University of Wisconsin-Madison with full appointments, combining performance, education, and service to the state.

Founded in 1912, the Pro Arte Quartet served as the court quartet to Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, first touring New York and other American cities in 1926. Thirty additional tours were made to the U.S., often under the patronage of Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, renowned for her support of chamber music. Stranded in the U.S. by the outbreak of World War II in 1940, the ensemble accepted a residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The quartet’s dedication to the music of its own time has led to commissions and collaborations with composers such as Bela Bartok, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honneger, Gunther Schuller, Fred Lerdahl, and Samuel Adler. Its recordings are available on the Laurel, Gunmar, Centaur, CRI, Albany and UW School of Music labels.

The Pro Arte Quartet is comprised of violinists David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violist Sally hisholm, and cellist Parry Karp.

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