One of the country's oldest and most distinguished chamber ensembles of its kind, the Musical Arts Quintet was established in 1957. Eight cross-country tours, from New England to the Pacific coast and from the Dakotas to New Orleans, have brought the quintet an enviable reputation and high critical acclaim.
Current members of the MAQ are Mihoko Watanabe, flute; Aryn Sweeney, oboe; Elizabeth Crawford, clarinet; Keith Sweger, bassoon; and Gene Berger, horn.
The MAQ made its New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall in November 1963. The New York Times critic described the concert as "an evening of sturdy, satisfying music-making and an attractive panel of rarely heard works." The New York Herald Tribune reporter concurred, with such accolades as "professional ensemble playing...excellent rapport...ease and freedom."
In residence at Ball State University, the quintet has gained national attention for its performance and support of contemporary music. At Brandeis University, the ensemble gave the first performance of Irving Fine's Romanza (then unpublished) for Fine's memorial concert. At Valdosta State College, the quintet presented the premiere of Morris Knight's Concerto for Quintet and Piano with Michael Bourgeot under the auspices of the Georgia State Arts Commission's Project Radius.
In 1994 the quintet gave the premiere performance of Karen Thomas' Sopravento, a work for quintet and percussion, at the conference of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors. OW Records issued the first recordings of the quintet, which are devoted to the works of contemporary American composers.
The MAQ has performed at conferences of the American Society of Composers (1993), Music Educators National Conference (1994), Music Teachers National Association (1996), Indiana Music Educators Association (1997 and 2000), National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors National Symposium (1999), Society of Composers (2001), and International Double Reed Society (2003). The quintet recently completed a two-year tour of the Midwest.
Read about the MAQ's recent grant from the NEA (PDF).
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