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Released March 30, 2005


HATTIESBURG – For more than a decade, the Marian Anderson String Quartet, the only professional African-American string quartet in the world, has brought inspiration and hope to every segment of American society.

The University of Southern Mississippi, in cooperation with the city of Hattiesburg, Hattiesburg Public Schools, the Mississippi All-State Orchestra, and the Mississippi Orchestra Teachers Association, will present the Marian Anderson String Quartet in concert at 7:30 p.m. April 8 at Bennett Auditorium on the Southern Miss campus.

In addition to the public performance, the quartet also will be performing to a packed house of Hattiesburg Public School students at 9:30 a.m. April 12.

"We have asked this wonderful ensemble to come to Hattiesburg as part of the Mississippi All-State Orchestra program, held at Southern Miss April 7-9," explained Dr. Jay Dean, music director for the Southern Miss Symphony Orchestra. "We want to share the talents of this group with as many schoolchildren as possible while they are here."

With performance venues ranging from concert stages to presidential inaugurations, the quartet continues to uphold its mission to create new and diverse audiences for the field of chamber music.

Marianne Henry, a founding member of the group, said the musicians first came together as friends. Once they saw the response they were getting from minority audiences, they soon realized their role model potential.

Vrita Delaine, assistant to the vice president for student affairs at Southern Miss, calls the performances an "opportunity of a lifetime." She added, "To host such a group as the Marian Anderson String Quartet is the chance of a lifetime to showcase the diversity of music that will serve to encourage minority students to stick with their goals and dreams of playing string instruments."

On September 30, 1989, the members of the Marian Anderson String Quartet, then known as the Chaminade Quartet, came together, unaware that they would soon change history. In 1991, the quartet won the International Cleveland Quartet Competition, becoming the first African-American ensemble in history to ever win a classical music competition.

To highlight this singular achievement, the quartet members asked permission from the great American contralto Marian Anderson to use her name as their own. Anderson responded with heartfelt approval and in a memorable show of gratitude, the newly named Marian Anderson String Quartet played for its legendary namesake and her nephew, conductor James DePriest.

The group's artistic endeavors have brought them to such venues as New York's Tully Hall, the Corcoran Gallery, the Library of Congress, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Southern California and the Chateau Cantanac-Brown in Bordeaux, France.

The Marian Anderson String Quartet has been quartet in residence at City College of New York and California State University-Los Angeles. Having recently completed a graduate fellowship program at the acclaimed Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas, they are the ensemble in residence at Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University.

Tickets for the April 8 concert are $10 for adults and all students will be admitted free. Tickets may be purchased through the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425 or online at For more information, call the symphony office at (601) 266-4001.


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April 14, 2005 12:07 PM