Winter Passions

Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 3pm


Beethoven Quartet for Piano and String Trio, Op. 16
Tchaikovsky String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11
Mark O'Connor String Quartet No. 3 Old-Time (1996)
Concert information

The Kontras Quartet, recently performing around the world, is returning to our stage after having been chosen as Quartet in Residence for Fall 2017 in a new position created at radio station WFMT. The Kontras programs tread the line between classical music and American folk as this program reveals with music by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and the well-known American violinist, jazz and country style composer and performer, Grammy Award winner Mark O’Connor. The New York Times wrote of a recent concert of Mark O’Connor’s, “One of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music.” Definitely a concert to look forward to and enjoy.

Dessert Reception gift of Catering by Michaels, Family of Companies.


Adult - $20
Senior - $16
Student - $8

purchase tickets


The Kontras Quartet
Dmitri Pogorelov, violin | Francois Henkins, violin
Ben Weber, viola | Jean Hatmaker, cello

with Mark O'Connor, violin and Carol Honigberg, piano

The Kontras Quartet

Admired for their "superlative artistry" (CVNC Arts Journal), the Kontras Quartet has established an international following for their vibrant and nuanced performances. The "superb Chicago-based ensemble" (Gramophone Magazine) has been described as "a tightly crafted and beautiful instrument" (CVNC Arts Journal) and has been lauded for their "crisp precision" (Palm Beach Daily News) and "enjoyable musical personality" (Fanfare Magazine). Kontras means contrasts in the Afrikaans language - fitting for a string ensemble whose colorful repertoire spans centuries, genres, and continents.

The Kontras Quartet records for MSR Classics and recently released two critically acclaimed albums. The first, Origins, features new and lesser-known works from the quartet's home countries, including the world premiere recording of Dan Visconti's Ramshackle Songs. The recording was commended by Gramophone Magazine for the quartet's "scrupulous shading and control". The second, Lucid Dreamer, features a septet that Kontras commissioned in 2013 with a generous Chamber Music America-awarded grant. The work treads the line between classical music and American folk and invigorates Kontras' ongoing collaboration with the esteemed Kruger Brothers trio.

The Kontras Quartet's recent and upcoming engagements include international tours of South Africa and Switzerland; broadcasts on classical radio stations nationwide (including Performance Today and a 3-month residency with Chicago's WFMT 98.7 fm); performances at Chicago's Symphony Center and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; television appearances on NBC and PBS; and sold out concerts in Telluride, Salt Lake City, Raleigh and Arizona.

Kontras enjoys educational work of all kinds, and has been the Professional Quartet in Residence at Western Michigan University for three years. The group has also continued its work in the Chicago Public Schools with the support of a grant from the Boeing Company. Outside of the Chicago area, Kontras has made a significant educational impact in North Carolina, bringing over 200 innovative and interactive outreach programs to 40,000 students.

Formed while the group's members were string principals in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Kontras Quartet began pursuing a professional career in 2009. Kontras enjoyed immediate recognition, holding their own against seasoned string quartets from around the country to win a four-year chamber music residency with the Western Piedmont Symphony in North Carolina, a full-time position established through Chamber Music America's Residency Partnership Program. The quartet has received continued training with the Vermeer Quartet and Juilliard String Quartet.

Their website can be found at

Dmitri Pogorelov, violin

Critically acclaimed violinist Dmitri Pogorelov has won prestigious chamber music competitions in his native Russia at an early age, which led to numerous appearances in chamber music recitals and solo performances with orchestras in the USA, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, and Russia. Dmitri has appeared in chamber music concerts with principal players of Chicago, Houston, Saint Louis and Seattle Symphonies, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Concertgebouw Orchestras, San Francisco, Chicago Lyric, and Frankfurt State Opera orchestras. As part of Dmitri’s interest in contemporary chamber music, he has recently recorded works by Eric Ewazen, Gunther Schuller, and Yehudi Wyner for Albany Records. A seasoned orchestral performer, Dmitri has worked under Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Sir Mark Elder, and Esa-Pekka Salonen as concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony’s Civic Orchestra. Dr. Dmitri Pogorelov holds degrees from Northwestern University (DMA), DePaul University (MM) and Lynn (BM) University, having studied under Gerardo Ribiero, Ilya Kaler, and Elmar Oliveira. Dimitri Pogorelov plays a 1720 David Tecchler “Radetzky” violin, on loan to him through the courtesy of an anonymous donor.

Francois Henkins, violin

Having grown up in a highly musical family, violinist Francois Henkins distinguished himself at an early age by winning national chamber music and solo competitions in his native South Africa, and performing as guest soloist with the Johannesburg and Free State Symphonies. He came to the USA with a full scholarship to the Interlochen Arts Academy, and continued his studies under Chicago Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Robert Chen, Los Angeles Philharmonic associate concertmaster Nathan Cole, and Renata Artman Knific. Francois has since traveled the world to appear at chamber music festivals such as the Musicorda Chamber Music Festival; the Stellenbosch National Chamber Music Competition, at which he was awarded a prize for his notable performance; and the Cleveland Orchestra's Kent/Blossom Music Festival, where he was awarded the Josef Gingold Award for his distinguished performance in chamber music. An experienced orchestral performer, Francois has worked under renowned conductors such as Bernard Haitink and Pierre Boulez in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Johannesburg Philharmonic. Francois has a deep love of teaching and is currently on the faculty at Elmhurst College, Western Michigan University, and Harper College.

Benjamin Weber, viola

Violist Benjamin Weber is currently Principal Viola with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and has performed with many of the orchestras around the Chicago area. He has performed recently with Barbra Streisand, Todd Rundgren, and Howard Levy. An avid chamber musician, he was a founding member of Crossing Borders Music and has often appeared with the ACM Palomar Ensemble as a guest. As a string educator, he is on the faculty at the Merit School of Music and has led guest clinics at high schools around the Chicago area. He received a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2004 studying Violin and Viola with Michael Hining, and in 2008 he received a Master’s degree in Viola Performance from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with John Graham and Melissa Matson. He and his wife are thrilled to introduce their daughter Mara, born in October 2015.

Jean Hatmaker, cello

Jean Hatmaker is a founding member of the Kontras Quartet, with whom she has performed in chamber series all across the East and Midwest, as well as live performances on NBC and public radio. KQ has a rich history of interdisciplinary collaboration, often collaborating with dancers, visual artists, and musicians of other genres. They tour frequently with nationally-acclaimed bluegrass trio the Kruger Brothers, and have performed together for PBS, Telluride, MerleFest, IBMA, and the Late Show with David Letterman. KQ recently released their first two commercial albums: their first commissioned work, Lucid Dreamer, with the Kruger Brothers, on Double Time Records; and Origins, an album comprised of music from the founding members’ home countries, on MSR Records.

Hatmaker is a passionate teacher, holding faculty positions at Lake Forest College and Elmhurst College, where she also founded the Elmhurst College Cello Choir. With Kontras Quartet, she is in-residence at Western Michigan University as a chamber ensemble coach and performance lecturer. She has been a board member of the Chicago Cello Society since 2014, and currently serves as President. She is also an amateur ballerina, and has studied and performed at Indiana University, the NewArt School of Ballet, and the Joffrey Academy of Chicago. Combining her passions for music and dance, Hatmaker has arranged and performed original ballet productions of The Nutcracker and Alice In Wonderland, collaborations between the NewArt School of Ballet and Kontras Quartet.

Hatmaker has an extensive background of orchestral playing, having been principal cellist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Western Piedmont Symphony, and other regional orchestras throughout the Midwest. She received both a Bachelor (with High Distinction) and Master of Music degrees in Cello Performance from Indiana University, in the studios of Helga Winold and Janos Starker. She plays on a French cello made by Marc Laberte ca. 1922, and uses a Hill bow.

Mark O'Connor, violin

Violinist Mark O’Connor is a product of America’s rich folk tradition as well as classical music. He studied with the American folk fiddler and innovator Benny Thomasson and with the great French jazz violinist and improviser Stephane Grappelli. He also worked with Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Yehudi Menhuin and Pincas Zukerman. With his body of work including 45 feature albums of mostly his own compositions, Mark O’Connor has melded and shaped these influences into a new American Classical music, and has become an entirely new American school of string playing. He has sold over 2 million CDs as a solo recording artist. One of his most famous collaborations on CD is with Yo Yo Ma, cellist and Edgar Meyer, bass, called Appalachian Waltz which received a Grammy in 1995. Mark O’Connor now enjoys playing with his new band consisting of family members including his wife, his son, daughter-in-law ,bass and guitar. He performs with many other famous musicians throughout the year.

Carol Honigberg, piano
artistic director of the Pilgrim Chamber Players

Carol Honigberg has appeared as soloist and as chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. Recent performances with orchestra include Haydn’s Concerto for Violin, Piano, and Strings, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2, and the Two-Piano Concerto by Poulenc. She gave her New York recital debut in Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center. She has appeared as soloist with the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago and appears regularly on programs live on radio WFMT. She has recently participated in summer festivals in Ceret, France, and Sun Valley, Idaho, has performed on the Chopin Festival in Washington, DC, and participated in the Chamber Music series from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. She recently gave a duo recital with violinist Judith Aller at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art which was broadcast live on radio.

Carol Honigberg has recorded the Barber Piano Concerto and Piano Sonata for Musical Heritage Society, the Rhapsody in Blue in the solo piano version for Pavane Records in Belgium, the Beethoven Sonatas and Variations for cello and piano, and Chopin’s music for cello and piano with cellist Steven Honigberg on the Albany label. She also performs on the series “Darkness & Light,” music from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. She recently recorded for Albany Records a selection of chamber music by Donald Draganski for winds and piano, performed by the Pilgrim Chamber Players, of which she is Artistic Director.

She is a former faculty member of Roosevelt University in Chicago and presently teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago, Lake Forest Campus. She received her Masters of Music degree from Northwestern University. Her teachers have included Rudolph Ganz and Gui Mombeaerts. She also studied with Marguerite Long in France.

Carol Honigberg received the 2009 City of Highland Park Mayor's Award for the Arts for her role as Artistic Director of the Pilgrim Chamber Players.