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Dover Quartet to Begin Three-Year Residency at Bienen School

The New Yorker cites group as “the young American string quartet of the moment”
  • Gift from Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation supports three-year residency of Dover Quartet
  • Ensemble has performed in Bienen School’s 2014 and 2015 Winter Chamber Music Festivals
  • Quartet will coach student chamber music groups and perform three concerts each year

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Dover Quartet -- a young American string ensemble that catapulted to international stardom after winning the grand prize plus all three special prizes at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition -- will be headed to Northwestern University this fall as “quartet-in-residence.”

The University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music has announced that the Dover Quartet has been appointed to a three-year residency on the Evanston campus starting in October 2015. During those three years, the ensemble will coach chamber music ensembles and perform one concert each quarter.

The award-winning ensemble is comprised of violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt and cellist Camden Shaw. Members of the quartet have appeared as soloists with some of the world’s finest orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic.

The Dover Quartet’s popularity has sky-rocketed since winning all four prizes at the 2013 Banff competition, indicated by the group’s full performance schedule for 2014-15, which includes more than 100 concerts throughout the United States, Canada, South America and Europe. Highlights include concerts for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Schneider Concerts in New York City and Wigmore Hall in London.

“The Dover Quartet’s Kennedy Center debut shows why they should be on must-hear list…..a triumph,” wrote a Washington Post reviewer.

The quartet will also perform together with pianists Marc-André Hamelin, Anne-Marie McDermott and Jon Kimura Parker, violists Roberto Díaz and Cynthia Phelps, bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Avi Avital, and the Pacifica Quartet. 

In addition, the quartet will participate in residencies for Bravo! Vail, Music@Menlo, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Artosphere, the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Phoenix Chamber Music Festival, and the Chamber Music Society of Logan. The quartet has been re-engaged a remarkable number of times for return appearances throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Italy and Great Britain.

The quartet also won top prizes at the Fischoff Competition in Indiana and the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London.

In 2013-14, the Dover Quartet became the first ever quartet-in-residence at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

The Dover Quartet’s residency at the Bienen School is supported by a generous grant from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. The Chicago-based foundation supports the arts and cultural organizations that focus on artistic achievement in presentation or performance.

“The Bienen School greatly appreciates the Cheney Foundation’s financial support for our annual Winter Chamber Music Festival,” said Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music. “The foundation’s additional support for the Dover Quartet’s residencies comes at a perfect time as the Bienen School moves into our new state-of-the-art lakeside home. Our students and the entire Northwestern and Chicagoland communities will benefit from the Cheney Foundation’s three-year investment in the talented members of the Dover Quartet.”


During the 2015-16 academic year the Dover Quartet will perform during an Oct. 7 public concert in the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. The award-winning quartet-in-residence will make another public appearance Jan. 10, 2016, during the Bienen School’s 2016 Winter Chamber Music Festival at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. In spring 2016, the Dover Quartet will present an April 3 public concert.

In addition to these public performances, ensemble members will coach Bienen School students at master classes in each quarter. Additional information will follow as details become available.

“The Dover Quartet, which has performed in the Winter Chamber Music Festival for the last two years, has had outstanding reviews,” said Cheney Foundation treasurer Allan Drebin, a member of the Bienen School’s Music Advisory Board and professor emeritus of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

“It is a young group on the move that coincided with the Bienen School’s idea to have a quartet-in-residence. The Cheney Foundation felt that it would be a nice fit and decided to provide support with a three-year grant. Having a visiting ensemble of this nature will be good for the school and the students,” added Drebin.

“Dover won the hearts of our audience with their first performance at the Winter Chamber Music Festival in January 2014,” said Blair Milton, adjunct associate professor of violin and longtime director of the Bienen School’s annual Winter Chamber Music Festival.

“The first words from everyone who heard that concert were, ‘When will they be back?’ Their return appearance this past January was again a huge success. We are fortunate to have a sophisticated chamber music audience here who are appreciative of this quality of music making.”

According to a joint statement from the Dover Quartet, “We are thrilled beyond words to join the Northwestern family. As a quartet, we've always looked forward to the stage in our career where we could explore the art of chamber music with passionate students, and we're incredibly grateful to have such an opportunity at the Bienen School of Music. To join this venerated institution is an honor that inspires us to be the best we can be, and we look forward to sharing the love of our craft with this vibrant community.”

For more on the Bienen School, visit


• “Masterly nuanced…..gutsy and earthy sound.” (The Wall Street Journal)

• “A quartet to reckon with…for me, this was string quartet nirvana. I hope they will never alter the inherent sonic beauty of their approach, which already assures them a spot among the finest of currently active quartets.” (Santa Fe New Mexican)

• “Excellent and fast-rising.” (The New York Times)

• “The Power of the Dover Quartet to communicate a work with awesome sophistication borders on the spiritual.” (Calgary Herald)

• “I fully expect them to emerge as one of the brightest lights of their musical generation and to bring the highest artistic standards to their work for many years to come.” (Fred Child, Performance Today)

For more information on the Dover Quartet, visit