Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence

Joel Link, violin | Bryan Lee, violin | Hezekiah Leung, viola | Camden Shaw, cello

Named one of the greatest string quartets of the last 100 years by BBC Music Magazine, the GRAMMY® nominated Dover Quartet has followed a “practically meteoric” (Strings) trajectory to become one of the most in-demand chamber ensembles in the world. In addition to its faculty role as the Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Dover Quartet holds residencies with the Kennedy Center, Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Artosphere, and the Amelia Island Chamber Music 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 prestigious honors include the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award.

The Dover Quartet’s 2022–23 season includes collaborations with Edgar Meyer, Joseph Conyers, and Haochen Zhang. The group tours Europe twice, including a return to London’s renowned Wigmore Hall and a debut performance in Copenhagen. The quartet recently premiered Steven Mackey’s theatrical-musical work Memoir, alongside arx duo and actor-narrator Natalie Christa. Other recent and upcoming artist collaborations include Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnaton, Ray Chen, the Escher String Quartet, Bridget Kibbey, Anthony McGill, the Pavel Haas Quartet, Roomful of Teeth, the late Peter Serkin, and Davóne Tines. In addition to two previous albums for the label, Cedille Records releases the third volume of the Dover Quartet’s Beethoven Complete String Quartets recording in October 2022. The quartet’s recording of The Schumann Quartets for Azica Records was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award in 2020. The Dover Quartet was formed in 2008 at the Curtis Institute of Music.

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.

Media

Images

High-resolution files are available to download from the full promotional kit

01 - 04 Jesse Holland Photography

02 - 04 Jesse Holland Photography

03 - 04 Jesse Holland Photography

04 - 04 Jesse Holland Photography

  • 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 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


    Encores

    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, ClevelandClassical.com


    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, Concertonet.com

    “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

Press

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

The Dover Quartet is one of the most lauded string quartets of the new generation, acclaimed not just for its accomplished playing but also for its innovative programming and imaginative interpretations.

—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 24, 2016

Repertoire

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.

  • View as PDF

    September 2022–January 2023

    PROGRAM I

    Schnittke: Quartet No. 3
    Beethoven: Grosse Fuge in B-flat major, Op. 133
    —intermission—
    Mendelssohn: Quartet No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 44, No. 3

    PROGRAM II

    Haydn: Quartet in C major, Hob.III:77, Op. 76, No. 3 (“Emperor”)
    Amy Beach: Quartet for Strings (In One Movement), Op. 89
    —intermission—
    Dvořák: Quartet No. 10 in E-flat major, Op. 51

     

    February–June 2023

    PROGRAM I:

    Haydn: Quartet in E-flat major, Hob.III:38, Op. 33, No. 2 (“The Joke”)
    George Walker: String Quartet No. 1
    —intermission—
    Dvořák: Quartet No. 10 in E-flat major, Op. 51

    PROGRAM II

    Mason Bates: Suite for String Quartet
    Bartók: Quartet No. 4
    —intermission—
    Schubert: Quartet in A minor, D. 804 (“Rosamunde”)

     

    Alternate Selection for 2022–23 Season

    William Grant Still: Lyric Quartette

  • View as PDF

    PROGRAM I

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

    PROGRAM II

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

    PROGRAM III

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

Collaborations

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.

  • Natalie Christa, narrator Dover Quartet
    arx duo
    Natalie Christa, narrator
    Available in 2022–23 and 2023–24

    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.

  • Haochen Zhang, piano Repertoire includes:

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

    Available in 2022–23 and 2023–24

    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.

  • Joseph Conyers, double bass Repertoire includes:

    Dvořák: String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 77

    Available in 2022–23 and 2023–24

    The Dover Quartet collaborates with double bassist Joseph Conyers beginning in the 2022–23 season to perform Antonín Dvořák’s String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 77. Conyers, also a Curtis graduate, is acting associate principal double bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra and founder of the Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization Project 440, which uses music as a tool to engage, educate, and inspire young musicians.

Contact

Artist Manager
Andrew Lane
Vice President, Touring and Artist Management
(215) 717-3124
andrew.lane@curtis.edu

Booking Inquiries
Julie Gaitens
Booking Representative
(215) 717-3146
julie.gaitens@curtis.edu

European Representative
Andrea Hampl
Konzertdirektion Hampl
+49 (0)30-478 26 99
hampl@konzertdirektion.de

Visit artist website

@DoverQuartet