The Dover Quartet Names Julianne Lee as New Violist

The two-time GRAMMY-nominated Dover Quartet, the Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, welcomes the Curtis alumna, known for a distinctive and versatile career as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player, beginning in September.

Addition of Julianne Lee cements Dover Quartet’s place as one of America’s preeminent string quartets as it embarks on a new chapter.

Press Contacts:
Patricia K. Johnson | patricia.johnson@curtis.edu | (215) 717-3190
Ryan Scott Lathan | ryan.lathan@curtis.edu | (215) 717-3145

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PHILADELPHIA, PA—February 23, 2023—The Curtis Institute of Music is pleased to announce that the internationally-celebrated Dover Quartet has named Curtis alumna Julianne Lee (Violin ’05) as its new violist. Ms. Lee, who currently serves as assistant principal second violin of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal second violin with the Boston Pops Orchestra, has forged a remarkable career as both a violinist and violist, frequently appearing as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. She has been a member of the BSO violin section since 2006, serving as acting assistant concertmaster from 2013 to 2015, and was previously the principal second violinist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 2017 to 2019. Ms. Lee begins her new role with the Dover Quartet in September 2023, joining violinists Joel Link (String Quartet ’14, Violin ’11) and Bryan Lee (String Quartet ’14, Violin ’11) and cellist Camden Shaw (String Quartet ’14, Cello ’11, ’10). As a part of the Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence, she will also join Curtis’s faculty beginning in the 2023–24 academic year.

With Ms. Lee’s appointment, the Dover Quartet continues carrying forward Curtis’s venerable legacy of teaching and performance excellence, and unparalleled commitment to chamber music training. The Dover Quartet draws on the lineage of the distinguished Guarneri, Cleveland, and Vermeer quartets, having been coached extensively by members of these ensembles during their time as students at Curtis. As both a violinist and violist, Ms. Lee follows in the footsteps of the late Michael Tree, who enjoyed an international career performing both violin and viola before joining the Guarneri Quartet as its founding violist.

“We are thrilled to welcome Curtis alumna Julianne Lee back to the school as she joins our faculty and the Dover Quartet,” says President and CEO Roberto Díaz. “Throughout Curtis’s nearly 100-year history, we have emphasized training young musicians to excel at chamber music, in addition to orchestral and solo repertoire, which makes the Curtis experience so unique. I am delighted to see Julianne and the quartet carry on this legacy, and inspire generations of students and audiences.”

Julianne Lee has toured nationally and internationally with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Marlboro Music Festival, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, where she held the title of guest principal violist. She also served as the second violinist of the Johannes String Quartet, an ensemble that performed commissioned works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Derek Bermel, and William Bolcom. Throughout her illustrious career, she has performed as a soloist with orchestras in Germany, the United States, and South Korea and as a chamber musician at numerous music festivals, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music at the Banff Centre, Aspen Music Festival, and the Marlboro Music Festival.

Ms. Lee graduated with a unanimous first prize at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris in France. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied violin and viola, and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory, where she double majored in violin and viola. In addition to her extensive performing career, she is a respected faculty member at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and the Berklee College of Music.

“To say it was ‘love at first sound’ might sound silly, but that’s exactly what we experienced when we first read with Julianne. There was the uncanny feeling that we had already played together for years; and yet at the same time, the group sounded uniquely fresh and inspired. We are so fortunate and grateful to be welcoming her into our family and look forward to taking the Dover Quartet to new musical heights!” says Camden Shaw, cellist of the Dover Quartet, speaking on behalf of the ensemble.

Ms. Lee’s appointment follows the departure of the Dover Quartet’s founding violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt (String Quartet ’14, Viola ’11, ’10), who departed the quartet in August 2022, and the season-long appointment of violist Hezekiah Leung for the 2022–23 season. Mr. Leung will continue to perform as the quartet’s violist through August 2023.

Hailed as “the next Guarneri Quartet” (Chicago Tribune) and named one of the greatest string quartets of the last 100 years by BBC Music Magazine, the GRAMMY-nominated ensemble 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 released the third volume of the Dover Quartet’s Beethoven Complete String Quartets recording in October 2022. Volume 2–The Middle Quartets was nominated for a GRAMMY Award in 2022, and 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.

The members of the Dover Quartet studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and New England Conservatory, where they were mentored extensively by Shmuel Ashkenasi, Victor Danchenko, Joseph DePasquale, James Dunham, Norman Fischer, Kenneth Goldsmith, Kim Kashkashian, Joseph Silverstein, Arnold Steinhardt, Michael Tree, Donald Weilerstein, and Peter Wiley. The Dover Quartet was formed at the Curtis Institute of Music, and its name pays tribute to Dover Beach by fellow Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber.

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.

About the Curtis Institute of Music
The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians to engage a local and global community through the highest level of artistry. For nearly a century, Curtis has provided each member of its small student body with an unparalleled education alongside musical peers, distinguished by a “learn by doing” philosophy and personalized attention from a faculty that includes a high proportion of actively performing musicians. With admissions based solely on artistic promise, no student is turned away due to financial need. Curtis invests in each admitted student, ensuring no tuition is charged for their studies, and they enter the profession free from educational debt. In a typical year, Curtis students hone their craft through more than 200 orchestra, opera, and solo and chamber music offerings in Philadelphia and around the world. Learn more at Curtis.edu.

Photos of the Dover Quartet and Julianne Lee by Roy Cox.

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