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

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.

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

2021 Adult String Chamber Music Workshop

Oct 15, 2021 – Oct 17, 2021

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Recharge or rediscover your musical passions in an intimate natural setting with world class musicians!

Join the DaPonte String Quartet for a three-day weekend of musical camaraderie dedicated to enhancing your understanding of the great works of the string chamber music literature and perfecting your playing and ensemble skills, all while enjoying a gorgeous Mid-Coast Maine lakefront setting. All meals are included. The camp also has comfortable, modern rooms at a modest fee for those who wish to stay overnight.

This intimate weekend workshop is designed for intermediate to advanced string players, to share their passion for chamber music while being coached on such aspects of ensemble playing as: listening, communication, cueing, rhythm, intonation, blending, and theory and music history. Participants may attend as part of a pre-formed group, or as individuals who will be placed in a compatible-level group.

example schedule

The workshop runs from Friday 5:30 to Sunday 5 pm. Through the weekend, participants will play a mininum of 10 hours, each one receiving at least 7 hours of coaching (more if he/she needs it) provided by individual members of the DSQ in round-robin fashion. There is opportunity to sight-read. The Quartet gives a 1-hr topical presentation and the weekend concludes with an informal play-through of all the participants.

financial aid

Limited financial aid is available thanks to a grant from ACMP (Associated Chamber Music Players). Please inquire at if you wish more details.

feedback from past attendees

“The DaPonte Quartet has opened our minds to the nuances of the composers’ lives and times, the intricacies of the expression of themes, variations, chord changes, key transitions, mood and dynamics. Most of all, the DSQ demonstrates what it is that elicits the grand sound of high performance in chamber music.” –Linda Wilson, President Emeritus, Radcliffe College and amateur cellist.

“I can honestly say that the DSQ, the workshops, all of it, has changed my life in ways that I could only begin to dream about.” –Alison Carver, violin

2021 String Quartet Workshop for High School String Players

Sep 17, 2021 – Sep 19, 2021

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In the beautiful, secluded and relaxed lakeside setting of historic Camp Kieve, the DaPonte String Quartet offers a weekend-long workshop to aspiring high school string players from Maine as well as up to four students from other parts of the country. The weekend is dedicated to the study of chamber music, its preparation and performance, through the great works of the string quartet literature.

Twenty students, selected by audition, are organized into five string quartets. They are coached in the round by the individual members of the DaPonte String Quartet (violinists Lydia Forbes, Ferdinand Liva, violist Kirsten Monke and cellist Myles Jordan). The coaching sessions focus on the elements of ensemble playing: listening, communication, cueing, rhythm, intonation, blending, and theory and music history. At the completion of the workshop, a concert is presented by all the students for parents and friends.

Underwritten by an endowment, the workshop is offered at no cost to the student. All lodging, food and tuition costs are covered. Funding is available to help pay travel costs for out-of-state participants who need help covering these costs.

For some, this workshop is a student’s first exposure to playing chamber music, and it is an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.


Click here for a short video of the 2017 workshop.

What previous participants are saying:

“Having the opportunity to immerse myself in the music of Beethoven in such a beautiful setting, working and performing with like-minded people and being coached by the talented Daponte Quartet members was an experience that will not be soon forgotten.” –Callie, 16, Participant

“The workshop was intensive and rewarding. In a quartet there is no place to hide. Each musician brings a unique voice to the performance. It was a wonderful experience. The location was beautiful, the food was great, but the best part was the opportunity to learn from world-class performers.” –Shannon, 17, Participant

Eligibility: Students must demonstrate proficiency on their instruments, be able to read music easily, and be of high school age at the time of the workshop. Students must be available for the entire weekend.

Application: To apply for this workshop, please register using the above “Register” button. When you fill out the registration application, you will be asked to include links to two YouTube videos of your performance of two contrasting pieces that you have studied. Cellphone videos made in your living room are ok! You will also be asked to arrange that a letter of recommendation from your teacher or someone who knows your playing be submitted to the quartet via email. Specific instructions will be provided after you register.

Out of state applicants: Travel scholarships of up to $500/student are available on request for those who need it. Please state on the application form whether you are requesting reimbursement for travel costs.

Application Deadline: August 15, 2020