“…the Dover Quartet players have it in them to become the next Guarneri String Quartet – they’re that good.” – The Chicago Tribune
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 Memoir, the Dover Quartet’s active 2021–22 season included world premiere performances of Marc Neikrug’s Piano Quintet No. 2 with Haochen Zhang, Chris Rogerson’s Dream Sequence with Anne-Marie McDermott, and Mason Bates’s Suite for String Quartet. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dover Quartet presented more than 25 virtual concerts, recorded and produced at the Curtis Institute of Music. The virtual concerts were presented to audiences across the globe, including the quartet’s first-ever tour to Latin America, which was conducted virtually.
Cedille Records releases the third and final volume of the quartet’s recording of the Beethoven Complete String Quartets in October 2022. Strad described the highly acclaimed recordings as “meticulously balanced, technically clean-as-a-whistle and intonationally immaculate.”. Their recording of Encores was also released in 2021 on the Brooklyn Classical label. The quartet’s GRAMMY® nominated recording of The Schumann Quartets was released by Azica Records in 2019. Cedille Records released the Dover Quartet’s Voices of Defiance: 1943, 1944, 1945 in October 2017; and an all-Mozart debut recording in the 2016–17 season, featuring the late Michael Tree, violist of the Guarneri Quartet. Voices of Defiance, which explores works written during World War II by Viktor Ullman, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Simon Laks, was lauded upon its release as “undoubtedly one of the most compelling discs released this year” (Wall Street Journal).
The Dover Quartet draws from the lineage of the distinguished Guarneri, Cleveland, and Vermeer quartets. Its members studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where they were mentored extensively by Shmuel Ashkenasi, James Dunham, Norman Fischer, Kenneth Goldsmith, Joseph Silverstein, Arnold Steinhardt, Michael Tree, and Peter Wiley. It was at Curtis that the Dover Quartet formed, and its name pays tribute to Dover Beach by fellow Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber.
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.
The Dover Quartet plays on the following instruments and proudly endorses Thomastik-Infeld strings.
Joel Link plays a very fine Peter Guarneri of Mantua, 1710-15, kindly loaned to him by Irene R. Miller through the Beare’s International Violin Society.
Bryan Lee: Riccardo Antoniazzi, Milan 1904; Samuel Zygmuntowicz, Brooklyn, 2020
Hezekiah Leung: Jürgen Manthey, Leipzig, 2014; Samuel Zygmuntowicz, Brooklyn, 2020, on loan through the El Pasito Foundation
Camden Shaw: Frank Ravatin, France, 2010