Avalon String Quartet Violist Named Artistic Director of Rush Hour Concerts


Tony Devroye,  Associate Professor of viola at the Northern Illinois University (NIU) School of Music and violist of the famed Avalon String Quartet, has been named the new Artistic Director of Rush Hour Concerts (RHC), the 15-year-old organization that brings high quality classical music to the public for free in its weekly summer concert series at St. James Cathedral (65 E. Huron St. in River North). Devroye has served the organization this year as Consulting Artistic Director, working closely with Interim Artistic Director Brant Taylor and Associate Artistic Director Kuang-Hao Huang to preserve the mission and vision of RHC founder and former Creative Director Deborah Sobol, who passed away unexpectedly last January. The announcement of Devroye’s new title with RHC, which takes effect immediately, was made this past Tuesday night, August 26, at the final concert of the 2014 season.

Huang will continue in his capacity as Associate Artistic Director with RHC, primarily overseeing Make Music Chicago, the city-wide day of free music that takes place every June 21 and is presented by RHC. Taylor will remain with the organization as Consulting Artistic Director and as a board member. Devroye will continue in his role with the Avalon String Quartet and at NIU in addition to his RHC duties.

“I'm so honored to take on this important role, building on the strong foundation laid by Deborah Sobol, a woman I so admired,” said Devroye. “I want to maintain Rush Hour’s commitment to original thinking surrounding the concert experience, with an emphasis on access to and engagement with the music we cherish.  I've spent the last six months getting to know as much as I can about the organization, and I'm inspired by the dedication of Acting Executive Director Kitty Rothschild, RHC Board President Tom Orlando and the rest of the Board. Working alongside Brant and Kuang-Hao is an opportunity any musician would envy.”

“Less than one year ago, Debbie said that she wanted Rush Hour Concert’s artistic team to be ‘creating things out of the box, responsive to the times, forward-thinking and staying nimble,’” noted Orlando. “Over the course of this year, Tony has exhibited these attributes and many more that are important for the success of this organization. In hindsight, we are fortunate that Debbie gave so much thought to who would succeed her. I can say with confidence that we have installed the artistic leadership team that will launch Rush Hour Concerts into its next 15 years of transforming busy lives through great music.”

Devroye enjoys a varied and active career as chamber, orchestral and solo violist and teacher. He has been violist of the Avalon String Quartet since 2004 and on the faculty at the Northern Illinois University School of Music since 2007. Devroye has performed with Avalon at major venues throughout the United States, including Bargemusic and Merkin Hall in New York, the Music Guild in Los Angeles and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., as well as in France and South Korea. His orchestral experience includes numerous performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach and other leading conductors. He has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago’s Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Grant Park Symphony and Music of the Baroque. He was previously a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. He has taught at the Interlochen Advanced String Quartet Program, the Icicle Creek Music Center and Madeline Island Music Camp, and has given master classes at UCLA, BYU, DePaul and the University of Tennessee.

Since its inception in 2000, Rush Hour Concerts has reinvented the classical music experience through a dedication to artistic quality, a concert format suitable to contemporary lifestyles and a policy of admission-free events. Rush Hour Concerts has created groundbreaking programs and access initiatives that have revolutionized music-making in Chicago and forged trendsetting partnerships with the city’s arts and cultural community.  In addition to the Summer Concert Series, Rush Hour Concerts unites the city through music every year during Make Music Chicago on the summer solstice, June 21, a citywide, daylong celebration of everyone’s ability to make music.

Rush Hour Concerts is committed to broadening arts access and launched its Community Engagement Residencies to bring expert musical instruction to under-resourced neighborhoods in Chicago through a long-term strategy of artistic and community collaboration. Now in its 15th year, Rush Hour Concerts has expanded into a year-round arts organization, yet remains grounded in its mission to reach across all communities with new ways for audiences to experience world-class music in Chicago.

Congratulations, Tony!

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