A new concert program presented by the Fort Hays State University Department of Music and Theatre, the Cottonwood Artist Series, will officially begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center with the Parker Quartet, a world-renowned chamber music ensemble formed in 2002 at the New England Conservatory, Boston.
The Cottonwood Series, said Ben Morris-Cline, chair of the Department of Music and Theatre, in a letter announcing the series, "aims to showcase world-class small ensembles and soloists what would otherwise never be heard in Hays."
The Parker Quartet has been praised in The New York Times and in The Boston Globe. The quartet won the Concert Artists Guild Competition in 2005 and took the Mozart Prize and the Grand Prix at the 2005 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in France. They also won the 2009-2011 Cleveland Quartet Award, given by Chamber Music America.
The Parker website is www.parkerquartet.com.
The second performance of the Cottonwood Series will be the Junior Mance Quintet, featuring Junior Mance, who was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1997. The Mance Quintet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, in Beach/Schmidt.
Mance's jazz career began after his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1953, when he became part of the house rhythm section at the Bee Hive Jazz Club in Chicago, where he accompanied such jazz greats as Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Sonny Stitt. He also toured with Dinah Washington and Dizzie Gillespie.
The Junior Mance website is www.juniormance.com.
Tickets, $15 for adults and free for all students (K-12 and FHSU students with ID), are available in advance through the Department of Music and Theatre, 785-628-4533. They can also be purchased at the door.