The DaPonte String Quartet

Not long after forming in Philadelphia, the DaPonte String Quartet surprised the musical world by moving to Maine where, as the New York Times noted, they create an experience akin to watching “the Boston Celtics play in the high school gym.”

The move was prompted by a temporary (three-year) rural residency grant from Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts, but once the Quartet arrived in Maine, they forged an unbreakable love-bond with the state. They now play or present more than 40 times a year across Maine, in addition to touring nationally and internationally. They were recently voted “Best Musical Group” in Maine (across all music genres) by readers of Down East Magazine, and were awarded the 2016 Maine Arts Commission Fellow in Performing Arts.

The Quartet are sought after to perform and teach everywhere.  They have given master classes in Texas and Washington DC, as well as offering free residential workshops for young string players and conducting in-school presentations in Maine and elsewhere–always at no cost to the students. In 2019 they will launch a week-long International Seminar on Quartet Studies for gifted young players.

As performers, they have appeared at Carnegie Hall, been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, and toured in France, Scotland, and Canada, as well as in over twenty American states. They have broadcast on nation-wide radio and television in both the United States and Canada, received awards from the NEA, Philadelphia Musical Fund Society, Music Teachers National Association, Chamber Music America, and Maine Arts Commission. In 2017 they released their fourth CD, Pathways to Healing, produced and mastered by 11-time Grammy winner Bob Ludwig, on the Centaur Records label. Guest artists who have performed with them include Awadagin Pratt, Kate Aldrich, Gilbert Kalish, and Peter Serkin.

Members of the Quartet

Ferdinand “Dino” Liva (Violin)

A violinist and conductor, Dino comes from a musically prominent family in northeastern Pennsylvania. He began studying the violin at age seven with his father, a noted conductor and teacher. Dino continued his education at the Peabody Conservatory with Berl Senofsky. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree, he studied with Christine Dethier in New York and then attended Temple University, working with Luis Biava, where he graduated with a Master’s degree and a Professional Studies Certificate. He then spent four years as Assistant Professor of violin and chamber music at Wilkes University and as conductor of the University Orchestra.

In 1991, Dino became one of the founding members of the DaPonte String Quartet and he moved full-time to Maine in 1996. Chamber music has remained his passion since those first rehearsals at the home of cellist Myles Jordan.

Dino continued to conduct and teach when he moved to Maine, enriching the lives of young musicians throughout the Midcoast. He has conducted the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra and University Orchestra. He currently teaches a private studio of students, conducts the Sea Coast Youth Orchestra, the Portland Youth Junior Orchestra, and the Sea Coast Community Orchestra. He also teaches violin as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern Maine.

Lydia Forbes (Violin)

Lydia’s career has been guided by a singular intention — to delve as deeply as possible into the magic of great chamber music literature, old and new.
Lydia has concertized throughout Europe and the U.K. with Ensemble L’Archibudelli, Zephyr Kwartet, Het Schoenberg Ensemble, Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Het Blazers Ensemble, Osiris Piano Trio, I Fiamminghi, and Ensemble Explorations. During this time, she recorded with some of the world’s most prominent labels; Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, CNM, and for Vienna Modern Masters as soloist with the Czech Radio Philharmonic. She has also performed for festivals in Europe, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. Lydia has also served as concertmaster for Het Orkest van het Oosten in the Netherlands.

Lydia was drawn to the DaPonte String Quartet by their love and respect for the work. She lives in Cumberland, Maine, with cellist Myles Jordan and their children.

Myles Jordan (Cello)

Myles Jordan worked as a child actor for CBC Television and the National Film Board of Canada before taking up the cello. Inspired by the North American premiere of the second Shostakovich cello concerto and a Casals master class, Myles asked for and received from his father a bright orange Hofner cello as a birthday present. He went on to train at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta, the Britten-Pears School of Advanced Musical Studies in England, and at Schloss Weikersheim in Germany. In 1981, he won a Floyd S. Chalmers Foundation Award, which enabled him to study at the Juilliard School, and by 1983 he had earned two degrees there. From New York he moved to Philadelphia, where he served as associate principal cellist of the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra, completed a Doctor of Musical Arts, and founded the DaPonte String Quartet.

Myles uses historical research to inform his musical performances so he can remain as faithful as possible to the composer’s original intentions. His Bach cello suites recording, on the Centaur label, drew a rave review from James Mannheim in the All Music Guide; and Laurence Vittes, in Gramophone Magazine, described it as “astonishing.” Myles has delivered lectures on early music performance practice at both the University of North Texas Graduate School Early Music Division and the Boston Early Music Festival. He also plays and teaches the Baroque violoncello piccolo. He lives in Cumberland, Maine, with violinist Lydia Forbes and their children.

Kirsten Monke (Viola)

A native of Brunswick, Maine, Kirsten Monke began lessons on the viola at age eight when her music teacher suggested the viola over the violin because Kirsten had the biggest hands in her orchestra class. Though her initial focus on this instrument may have been practical, the voice of the viola is what has inspired and nurtured Kirsten’s lifelong interest in music.

She received both her Masters and Bachelors degrees at Indiana University, where she worked with Kim Kashkashian and Georges Janzer (of the Vegh Quartet and Grumiaux Trio). As a graduate fellow at UC Santa Barbara, where she studied with Heiichiro Ohyama, she was a founding member of the Anacapa String Quartet, winners of the Fischoff competition as well as recipients of various honors from Chamber Music America. Following ten years of touring and concertizing with the ASQ, Kirsten remained in Santa Barbara, serving as Principal Violist of both the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. She also taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Westmont College, and at chamber music workshops across the country. Kirsten can be heard in recordings with the Anacapa Quartet and the Santa Barbara Symphony, as a soloist on a jazz CD featuring the music of Earl Stewart, and as a member of the Gove County String Quartet, a group that performs all original music.

Kirsten joined the DaPonte String Quartet in 2008, a serendipitous occurrence that brought her back to her beloved home state. She has recently joined the faculty of Rockport’s Bay Chamber Community Music School, where she teaches violin and viola and coaches chamber music. She also maintains a small private studio in the Brunswick area. She is

Recordings

Music of Beethoven and Mendelssohn: Pathways to Healing

Beethoven Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132
Mendelssohn’s Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13.

Released in 2016
Centaur Records

Dvorak, Schubert, Webern

Dvorak, String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 “American”
Schubert, String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 29 “Rosamunde” Webern, Langsamer Satz (1905)

Released: August, 2011
Schoolhouse Records
Available on iTunes

Ludwig van Beethoven:

String Quartet in F Major, Op. 18, no. 1
String Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, no. 2
String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18, no. 4

Released 2000

Schulhoff, Comollie, Shostakovich

Schulhoff, String Quartet No. 1 (1924)
Gia Comolli, String Quartet No. 2
Dmitri Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 8

Released 1998

Beethoven and Wolf

Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet in A Major, Op. 18, no. 5 Hugo Wolf, Italian Serenade
Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet in Bb Major, Op. 18, no. 6

Released 1997

Headshots

Publicity Photos

Teaching Photos