About the DSQ

The DaPonte String Quartet has been a fixture of the performing arts scene in Maine for the past twenty-seven years. They perform a schedule of over fifty performances annually, and have performed from Carnegie Hall to all corners of Maine. The DSQ musicians have extensive experience teaching, giving masterclasses, and coaching all levels and ages of musicians, from individuals, to an annual string quartet workshop for gifted high school players in Maine, to masterclasses across the country. DSQ members are currently on the faculty of the University of Southern Maine, Bowdoin College and Bay Chamber Music School.



June 12 - 21, 2020

A unique and intensive workshop, set in a beautiful and inspiring lakeside retreat center in Midcoast Maine, designed to foster professionalism and proficiency in String Quartet performance.

Hosted and instructed by The DaPonte String Quartet and 2020 guest faculty-artist Scott Kulksdahl

All accepted students will receive a full scholarship for tuition, as well as room, board and ground transport.

Application deadline: April 1, 2020

2020 Welcome


Thank you for your interest in the DaPonte String Quartet Institute!

Our 2020 program, the second year of the DaPonte String Quartet Institute, adds one additional day from last year's program - 10 days of intensive study for conservatory-level string quartets, in beautiful surroundings, and including great guest faculty, and a full tuition scholarship for all students!

This year's program will run from Friday, June 12, 2020 thru Sunday, June 21, 2020.

This residential program is meant for musicians who wish to explore the finer points of ensemble work and musical interpretation within the specific chamber-music context of the string quartet.

The Institute will provide full scholarships to all accepted students, including tuition, room, board, and ground transportation. The 2020 Institute will be held at the beautiful Medomak Retreat Center; a quiet, rural setting not far from bustling midcoast Maine.

This program is open only to pre-formed string quartets. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. For more information, please contact Lisa Westkaemper (Executive Director) at lisa@daponte.org or (207) 315-7105.

Workshop Focus

The DaPonte String Quartet Institute is a world-class musical workshop, with an extremely narrow focus: teaching advanced string players the delicate art of making the four members of a string quartet act as one. Rehearsal techniques, as well as effective communication for tuning, rhythm, and other performance elements will be studied.

The workshop demo, lecture and coaching sessions begin with score and historical analysis, progressing to visions of a composer's intention, further focusing on technical questions of intonation, ensemble, balance, phrasing, articulation and color. Students are led and mentored to develop positive and productive communication skills and strategies, performances which are in sum greater than the individual musicians. These skills are a constantly honed process, not a specific destination, experienced over a working lifetime. Imparting them with maximum clarity is the faculty's objective.

Workshop Schedule
Typical Day's Schedule

8:00 - Breakfast
9:00 - Coaching Sessions
11:30 - Lunch
1:00 - Demonstration/Lecture
2:30 - Coaching Session
4:00 - Free Time
6:00 - Dinner
8:00 - Rehearse or Evening Activity

The program activities will consist of daily lecture demonstrations to all students prior to dividing up into smaller quartet groups who will be instructed and coached by rotating faculty. There will be guest instructors (artists other than the quartet members) included in this coaching rotation, to address specific topics and offer different points of view and alternate forms of explanation. Each different DSQ quartet member, as well as each visiting instructor, will have multiple coaching sessions with each different student quartet group through the course of the week of study.

This program is open to pre-formed string quartets of exceptional ability. Five quartets will be selected for this program. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. All accepted students will receive full scholarships, which will cover room, board, tuition, and transportation to and from local field trips. Transportation between the Portland, Maine airport and the workshop campus will also be provided on the start and end days. The student is responsible for their own air/train/bus transportation to Portland, Maine.

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