Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence

Joel Link, violin | Bryan Lee, violin | Julianne Lee, viola | Camden Shaw, cello

Named one of the greatest string quartets of the last 100 years by BBC Music Magazine, the two-time GRAMMY-nominated Dover Quartet is one of the world’s most in-demand chamber ensembles. The Dover Quartet is the Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music and holds additional residencies at Northwestern University and the Artosphere festival. The group’s awards include a stunning sweep of all prizes at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, grand and first prizes at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and prizes at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. Its honors include the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award.

The Dover Quartet’s 2023-24 season includes a North American tour with Leif Ove Andsnes, performances with Haochen Zhang and David Shifrin, and a tour to Europe and Israel. Recent collaborators include Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnaton, Ray Chen, the Escher String Quartet, Bridget Kibbey, Anthony McGill, Edgar Meyer, the Pavel Haas Quartet, Roomful of Teeth, and Davóne Tines. The quartet recently premiered Steven Mackey’s theatrical-musical work Memoir, and works by Mason Bates, Marc Neikrug, and Chris Rogerson.

The Dover Quartet’s GRAMMY-nominated recordings include its highly acclaimed three-volume recording, Beethoven Complete String Quartets (Cedille Records), which was hailed as “meticulously balanced, technically clean-as-a-whistle and intonationally immaculate” (The Strad), and The Schumann Quartets (Azica Records).

The Dover Quartet was formed at Curtis in 2008; its name pays tribute to Dover Beach by fellow Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber. The Dover Quartet proudly endorses Thomastik-Infeld strings.

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Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence

The Dover Quartet is the Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at Curtis. Their faculty residency integrates teaching and mentorship, a robust international performance career, and a cutting-edge digital presence. With this innovative residency, Curtis reinvigorates its tradition of maintaining a top professional string quartet on its faculty, while providing resources for the ensemble to experiment with new technologies and engage audiences through digital means. Working closely with students in the Nina von Maltzahn String Quartet Program, the resident ensemble will recruit the most promising young string quartets and foster their development in order to nurture a new generation of leading professional chamber ensembles.



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01 - 03 Roy Cox

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  • The Dover Quartet and baritone Jarrett Ott perform Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach, Op. 3, the quartet’s namesake, in 2014.

    The Dover Quartet plays Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings in its original form, from the composer’s String Quartet Op. 11.

    The quartet’s second album explores works written during World War II by Viktor Ullman, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Simon Laks.

    Kennedy Center Composer in Residence Mason Bates and the Dover Quartet delve into From Amber Frozen for string quartet.

    The Dover Quartet performs with violinist Janine Jansen and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet at Carnegie Hall in 2018.

    The ensemble performs Haydn’s String Quartet No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5 while in residence at Northwestern University.

    Strings Attached delves into the lives—on- and off-stage—of the four superb musicians who form the Dover Quartet.

    The quartet experiments with emerging technologies to explore innovative educational tools and engage audiences around the world.

    Find more performances of the Dover Quartet on YouTube

  • Beethoven: Complete String Quartets

    The Dover Quartet launches the first album in its new three-volume complete Beethoven quartet cycle with the six Opus 18 quartets. Often cited as the epitome of the classical string quartet as developed by Haydn and Mozart, the Opus 18 quartets foreshadow Beethoven’s future innovations. This is the Dover Quartet’s third Cedille Records album.

    The Dover Quartet unveils the second installment in its Beethoven quartet cycle on Cedille Records. The three-disc set includes the Op. 59 “Razumovsky” Quartets, infused with Russian folk tunes; the graceful “Harp,” Op. 74, named for its plucked string figures; and the intense Op. 95 “Serioso,” a forward-looking experiment. This is the Dover Quartet’s fourth Cedille Records album.

    The celebrated Dover Quartet, the young, Grammy-nominated ensemble brimming with prestigious awards and residencies, concludes its critically acclaimed, three-volume Beethoven cycle with the composer’s five monumental, revolutionary Late Quartets and imposing Grosse Fuge.

    “The Dover performances sparkle and thrill. Their virtuosity is immediately apparent.”
    —Only Strings

    “Meticulously balanced, technically clean-as-a-whistle and intonationally immaculate…it is their collective sensitivity to mood and atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression.”
    —Julian Haylock, The Strad

    “The Dover effortlessly tap into the cleverness, wit, and unbridled sense of fun that continue to make these works compelling a quarter millennium after Beethoven’s birth.”
    —Zev Kane, WQXR 

    If he were alive today and hadn’t lost his hearing yet, Beethoven would find it hard to believe that his quartets could be played with such perfection of execution, such beauty of tone, such nuance of expression, and such keen understanding of his music’s meaning and intent.”
    —Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

    “In these new recordings, Dover Quartet pulls out all the potential this music has to offer. Their performance is crisp and sharp throughout. In some places, they shed new light on those quartets that have never resonated with me. . . I can’t wait to hear the rest of the Dover Quartet’s Beethoven string quartet cycle.”
    —Lou Harris, Third Coast Review

    “The Dovers stand out from the pack by playing with utterly perfect intonation, a near-telepathic sense of ensemble, and a lovely balance of passion and clarity…”
    —Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist


    A 2021 digital-only release in partnership with Brooklyn Duo, Encores comprises ten movements from beloved string quartets from Mozart to Shostakovich.

    The Schumann Quartets

    Released in October 2019 on Azica Records, this recording comprises Schumann’s three string quartets. Written in 1842, the three quartets mark the apotheosis of his development as a composer.

    Nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award!

    “The four musicians of the Dover Quartet unite all the cardinal virtues of modern quartet playing…The quartet’s new Schumann CD is a reference for me. Within the perfect, finely listened-to chamber music set-up, the quartet captivates with the very robust solo approach.”
    —Michael Schwalb, WDR 3 Tonart

    “Violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, and cellist Camden Shaw are a superb match, supremely unified in sound and musical intention. Their warm blend and crisp articulations are both made fully evident in this recording full of ring and clarity, produced by Alan Bise and engineered by the late Bruce Egre.”

    —Jarrett Hoffman,

    Voices of Defiance

    Voices of Defiance, the Dover Quartet’s second Cedille Records album, presents quartets of passion, hope, and resilience whose beauty defies the horrors that surrounded their creation.

    The Dover Quartet delivers an original, deeply felt program of three European composers’ distinctive responses to the destruction and despair of World War II. Czech composer Viktor Ullmann’s powerful String Quartet No. 3, written in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943, draws inspiration from Debussy’s impressionism and Schoenberg’s serialism. The ensemble’s muscular approach to Dmitri Shostakovich’s epic String Quartet No. 2 from 1944 emphasizes its tragic qualities, befitting the album’s theme. A captivating discovery for most listeners, Szymon Laks’s lyrical String Quartet No 3, written in 1945 following his evacuation from Auschwitz and liberation from Dachau, revels in folk melodies from his native Poland in contrasting scenes of heartbreak and ecstasy.

    “One of the most powerful new releases to cross my desk.”
    —David Allen, New York Times

    “Undoubtedly one of the most compelling discs released this year.”
    —Barbara Jepson, Wall Street Journal

    “Dover Quartet’s technical artistry is a given, but there’s also that chamber quartet ‘X-factor’ that can’t be forced. Undoubtedly, their ensemble synergy is luminous in this recording. These are historic compositions, and this recording is among the most important releases of this or any other year.”
    —Lewis J. Whittington,

    “The main work here, the Second Quartet by Shostakovich, is heard in a haunting performance, sending chills down the spine especially in the extremely dreary Romance. I can’t remember any other quartet playing this music like the ‘Dovers’ do.”
    —Remy Franck, Pizzicato

    Tribute: Dover Quartet Plays Mozart

    The Dover Quartet makes its recording debut with an all-Mozart album on Cedille Records honoring the soaring young ensemble’s illustrious teachers and coaches, the Guarneri Quartet.

    The Dover’s debut album recalls the Guarneri’s own all-Mozart debut album on RCA Red Seal 50 years ago (1966), which featured Mozart’s final two string quartets—in B-Flat, K. 589, and F, K. 590. The Dover’s album on Cedille adds Mozart’s Quintet in C Minor, K. 406, performed with none other than Michael Tree, the Guarneri’s founding violist and one of the Dover’s most valued mentors.

    “This deeply affecting debut disc is a tribute to the renowned Guarneri Quartet…Mozart’s final string quartets, the second and third of his‘Prussian’ three, with their lyrically enhanced cello lines, are performed here with surpassing beauty, a glorious timbral richness governed by what feels a continuous thoughtfulness.”
    —Paul Driver, Sunday Times (London)

    “This is music-making not of the highest order but of the next order. On a number of occasions, I’ve remarked on how blessed we are to be living in a golden age of string playing. The Dover Quartet now takes that to the next level, platinum.”
    —Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

    “The Dover Quartet and Michael Tree get more out of this music than I can remember hearing in any previous performance. But they do it not by being different. One never feels that the music is being pushed or pulled to try to make it more exciting or more profound. They know exactly when to take their time…This is glorious music-making and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
    —Paul E. Robinson, Musical Toronto


The Dover Quartet has been making life difficult for critics with playing that pretty much defies criticism.

—Ludwig van Toronto, July 18, 2019

The Dover Quartet continued to practice its razor-sharp precision, its gloriously rich sound, and the ability of each musician to seize a moment of individual musical rapture when called on to do so.

Theater Jones, January 9, 2019

From start to finish, everything was absolutely flawless…The Dover Quartet could play anything for us, and we would ask for more. Quartets that play with such technical quality these days can be counted on the fingers of one hand… An amazing, beautiful quartet.

—La Presse


Repertoire is subject to change and must be approved by the Dover Quartet; substitutions may be available. Contact the Curtis Institute of Music with any inquiries.

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    Turina: La oración del torero (The Bullfighter’s Prayer), Op. 34
    Janáček: String Quartet No. 2 (“Intimate Letters”)
    Schubert: String Quartet in D minor (“Death and the Maiden”), D 810


    Mozart: String Quartet in E-Flat major, K. 428
    Lowell Liebermann: String Quartet No. 6, Op. 139
    Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10


    Haydn: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No. 3 (“Rider”)
    Price: String Quartet No. 1 in G major
    Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat major, Op. 117

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    Mason BATES: From Amber Frozen
    MOZART: Quartet in D major, K. 575
    TCHAIKOVSKY: Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11

    Alternate selections:
    MENDELSSOHN: Quartet No. 4 in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2
    May be substituted for Tchaikovsky

    DVORAK: Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)
    May be substituted for Mozart



    MOZART: Quartet in D major, K. 575
    MENDELSSOHN: Quartet No. 4 in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2
    TCHAIKOVSKY: Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11

    Alternate selections:
    DVORAK: Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)
    May be substituted for Mendelssohn


    FEBRUARY 2025 – JUNE 2025


    Jessie MONTGOMERY: Strum
    JANACEK: Quartet No. 1 (“Kreutzer Sonata”)
    DVORAK: Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)
    TCHAIKOVSKY: Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11

    Alternate selections:
    SCHUMANN: Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1
    May be substituted for Tchaikovsky



    DVORAK: Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)
    SCHUMANN: Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1
    TCHAIKOVSKY: Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11



    JUNE 2024 – AUGUST 2025

    The Dover Quartet offers presenters the opportunity to join a consortium of co-commissioners supporting the composition of an original work by American Indian classical composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, as well as a new arrangement by Tate of Pura Fé’s Rattle Songs, originally written for the American Indian female vocal quartet Ulali. The works are intended to be programmed alongside Dvorak’s “American” Quartet. Contact us to learn more about this commissioning opportunity.

    Jessie MONTGOMERY: Strum
    *Pura Fé: Rattle Songs (arranged for string quartet by Jerod Tate)
    *Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ TATE: commissioned work
    DVORAK: Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)
    *Commissioned for this program


The Dover Quartet frequently collaborates with acclaimed artists such as pianist Emanuel Ax, mandolinist Avi Avital, the classical crossover ensemble Brooklyn Duo, the Escher Quartet, harpist Bridget Kibbey, and double bassist Edgar Meyer. The following are featured collaborations for upcoming seasons. Contact us to learn more about booking opportunities.

  • Dover Quartet
    arx duo
    Natalie Christa, narrator

    A theatrical musical work by GRAMMY® Award-winning composer Steven Mackey, Memoir explores the tumultuous 20th century as told through the eyes of a first-generation American woman charting her own path in search of the American Dream.

  • Repertoire includes:

    Neikrug: Piano Quintet No. 2
    Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34

    Marc Neikrug’s Piano Quintet No. 2, subtitled “In Six Parts,” is written for the Dover Quartet and Haochen Zhang. Designed to highlight the virtuosity of each individual musician, the work explores extreme emotions through varying episodes for the full quintet and smaller combinations of instruments. The piece is commissioned by Music Accord, Inc., and Chamber Music in Napa Valley.

  • Available in the 2024-25 season

    Repertoire to include:
    Hamelin: Piano Quintet
    Additional quintets may be available

    After an acclaimed world premiere performance of Hamelin’s own Piano Quintet at La Jolla Music Society SummerFest in 2022, the Dover Quartet and Hamelin bring the work back for a collaborative tour in the 2024-25 season. Both a pianist and composer, Hamelin is celebrated as “a performer of near-superhuman technical prowess” (The New York Times).

  • Repertoire offerings include:

    Andy Akiho: LIgNEouS Suite
    Additional works by Samuel Adams and Gabriella Smith

    Praised for his “unfailing virtuosity” (Chicago Tribune), percussionist Ian Rosenbaum – a member of Sandbox Percussion – teams up with the Dover Quartet for collaborative performances, including Andy Akiho’s LIgNEouS Suite, for which their commercial recording was nominated for a Grammy Award.


General Management
Andrew Lane
Vice President, Touring and Artist Management
(215) 717-3124

Booking Inquiries (North America)
Julie Gaitens
Booking Representative
(215) 717-3146

Brayton Arvin
Artist Manager and Booking Representative
(215) 875-4204

Booking Inquiries (Europe)
Andrea Hampl
Konzertdirektion Hampl
+49 (0)30-478 26 99

Advancing for Confirmed Engagements
Catelyn Cohen
Manager of Artist Services
(215) 717-3129

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