String Quartet

The Nina von Maltzahn String Quartet Program prepares a new generation of chamber music leaders.

The Nina von Maltzahn String Quartet Program is open to young quartets of extraordinary promise, formed for at least one year at the time of their audition. Closely mentored by Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence, the Dover Quartet, the ensemble performs two recitals annually and masterclasses for guest quartets and other visiting artists. Quartet members participate in concerts of contemporary music with Curtis’s Ensemble 20/21 and, when safe, perform in locations around the globe with Curtis on Tour.

The quartet also participates in Curtis’s Community Artists Program, designing and implementing a unique performance project that combines artistry with invention, leadership with advocacy, and citizenship with community. As mentoring is an important dimension of the quartet program, quartet members coach and perform with students who are part of the Young Artists Initiative (those of high school age and younger).

The quartet program was established in 2013 and has graduated ensembles that are pursuing fast-rising and global careers, including the DoverAizuriZorá, and Vera quartets. Accolades include Grammy Award nominations, the Avery Fisher Career Grant, top prizes from the M Prize Competition and Astral Artist’s National Auditions, and recognition in the New York Times, among others.


Curtis is grateful to the donors who provided generous funding to pilot the school’s string quartet program: Henry Arnhold, Nina Baroness von Maltzahn, Bob and Gina Mundheim, and Phil and Eli Taylor.

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How to Apply


Audition Requirements


The following application materials can be sent, electronically via Acceptd portal:

  • A full group bio (or link to the quartet’s website) detailing information including the ensemble’s history, formal training, residencies, competitions, and awards
  • A full repertoire list

The pre-screening recording requirements are as follows:

Quartets must submit a high-quality audio-visual recording using the following repertoire guidelines. Selections should be contrasting in style.

  • A movement of a work from the standard classical repertoire
  • A movement of a work from the standard romantic repertoire
  • A movement or work from the period 1900-1975
  • A movement or work from the period 1975-present

The recording must be representative of the quartet’s current work, and the ensemble must be clearly visible.

Live Audition (If advanced)

The included repertoire should represent a variety of musical periods and styles. For the audition, the quartet should perform for approximately 45 minutes.  The first selection is a movement of the group’s choice.  Subsequent selections of pieces and movements will be made by the audition committee.  Finally, there will be a  15 minute interview/discussion conducted by the audition committee.  The quartet should be prepared to comment on the group’s background, goals, etc.

Student Performances