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Chamber music ensembles compete for $100,000 at M-Prize

A string quartet
creative commons
Talinn String Quartet

Twenty-nine chamber music ensembles face off this week at the University of Michigan's first M-Prize competition.

Founder Aaron Dworkin says it's a major chamber music competition, both in terms of the number of groups competing and the size of the prize: $100,000.

Dworkin says he hopes to draw attention to how chamber music is evolving. He says it's not just a strings ensemble, or winds.

"You might have euphonium, harp, oboe and spoken word," says Dworkin, "and all acoustic, or are there any parts of that ensemble that engage electronics."

Dworkin says he hopes the prize draws new audiences to a sometimes overlooked field of music.

"You get both the unique quality of collaboration of musicians who join together to create a sound bigger than one, but then you still get a very distinctive, individualistic interpretation that can shine through," he said. "So in many ways, I think, chamber music captures both the best from orchestral performances, as well as the best from solo performances.

The Grand Prize Gala Concert is Thursday at Hill Auditorium. Tickets are required, but free.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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