North Central College - Naperville, IL

Multicultural quartet Birds and Phoenix performs April 11 at North Central

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Contact: Ted Slowik, Director of PR and Media Relations, 630-637-5307,

Feb. 19, 2010—East meets west when innovative multicultural quartet Birds and Phoenix performs an afternoon of chamber music at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 11, in North Central College’s acoustically perfect Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville.

Birds and Phoenix is dedicated to musical exploration by bridging eastern and western musical cultures. The quartet was founded in 2006 under the auspices of Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Fontana Chamber Arts, which commissioned four new works for the ensemble.

The quartet’s Asian, European and American musical traditions are bridged in a diverse and unique fashion. Their program includes works by composers Lu Pei, Bright Sheng, Victoria Bond and William Neil, as well as traditional Chinese folk songs and masterpieces by Mozart and Bach.

Tickets are $30/adults, $20/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).
Birds and Phoenix consists of Wang Guowei, erhu; Yang Wei, pipa; and John Bruce Yeh and Teresa Reilly, clarinets. Yeh and Reilley both performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in November 2008 at North Central College and recognized that Wentz Concert Hall would be the ideal venue in which to introduce Chicago-area audiences to the magic of Birds and Phoenix.

Yeh joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1977 and at age 19 was appointed the orchestra’s solo bass clarinet by Sir Georg Solti. Yeh is currently the CSO’s acting principal clarinet. Reilly, Yeh’s wife, is a freelance Chicago-area clarinetist and chamber musician.

Guowei is a Shanghai native now based in New York who is regarded as one of the most outstanding soloists of his generation on the erhu, a two-stringed bowed instrument. The erhu is played as a solo instrument and as “China’s violin” by conservatory trained musicians and composers in concert music compositions, while still used as an important accompanying instrument in opera performances.

Wei is a native of Shanghai who now lives in the Chicago area. He is a master of the pipa, a four-stringed lute that is one of the oldest Chinese musical instruments, having appeared in Chinese written texts of the second century B.C. He recently completed a world concert tour with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project.

Birds and Phoenix’s recording debut, “Peculiar Plants,” was recently ssued on the Albany label and features a concert performance of Victoria Bond’s “Bridges.”

This performance is one of many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. North Central offers a variety of venues accommodating a rich range of local and world-class events, performances and space needs for the public. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).