UD’s School of Music and the Calidore String Quartet are now accepting applications for the Graduate String Quartet Fellowship
Members of the Calidore String Quartet, Ryan Meehan, Jeff Myers, Jeremy Berry, and Estelle Choi, are the Co-Directors of the UD Graduate String Quartet Fellowship program. The Violin Channel sat down with Ryan Meehan and got an inside look at the fully funded opportunity.
Open to pre-formed string quartets whose members do not already hold a Master of Music in Performance, applications are now open.
Can you tell us about the Graduate String Quartet Fellowship program and the curriculum? How is the program structured?
This position is offered biennially to one outstanding young string quartet pursuing a professional career. The quartet’s members will study privately and receive intensive weekly coachings from the members of our quartet. Career guidance and mentorship feature prominently in the program. Numerous performance engagements are offered both on the UD campus and throughout the Northeast. We regularly bring in some of the top artists in our field to work with the Fellowship Quartet such as clarinetist Anthony McGill and violinist/violist Yura Lee. Furthermore, the UD Graduate Quartet Fellowship offers one of the most generous stipends for graduate studies in the country. The fellowship is open to students who do not already have a Master‘s Degree on their primary instrument (i.e. those who only hold a Master‘s in Chamber Music or another discipline other than their primary instrument would be eligible to apply).
What performance opportunities will come from the fellowship?
For their degree, the quartet will give four formal quartet recitals as well as one individual solo recital each. There are many on-campus and community outreach performance opportunities offered by the school. In the past, fellowship students have even had the chance to perform for President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. With Newark, Delaware being situated 45 mins from Philadelphia and 2 hours from either New York or Washington D.C., it is an ideal location to be situated to take easily take advantage of the rich concert and cultural scene in the Northeast.
What are the primary skills a young quartet needs to cultivate in order to develop a professional career, and how is this program going to help them?
Career mentorship and advancement is a key element of our program. Many schools train their students to play at a high level but offer little guidance on how to cultivate a professional career. Our students are instructed on everything from programming and repertoire choice to communication etiquette with presenters/managers as well as effective and efficient competition/concert preparation. Successful string quartets not only play well, but are impeccably organized and proactive about creating opportunities for themselves. These are qualities we continue to strive for as an ensemble and aim to impart to our students.
What are your main goals for a young quartet studying in this program?
We hope that by the time a quartet has graduated from our program that they will be equipped with all they need to realize their ambitions as an ensemble. The current UD Graduate Fellowship Quartet, the Abeo Quartet, has already achieved extraordinary success within their 1.5 years in the program including top prizes from the Chesapeake and Yellow Springs Competitions, selected for the International Program of the 2022 [email protected] Festival, a New York City recital debut as well as joint recitals with our quartet organized in the coming seasons around the country.
It was not long ago that we were a young quartet with dreams and ambitions of a professional career (this season we celebrate 12 years together). We have a direct understanding of what today’s chamber music market is looking for in young ensembles, the musical qualities it takes to gain notoriety and the business acumen required to maintain professional momentum.
What do you like the most about coaching young ensembles?
Talented young ensembles have a uniquely spirited energy and commitment in their music making. This youthful vigor is perhaps the most important ingredient in any successful young quartet. Slight imperfections of ensemble, intonation or phrasing can be resolved with precise and dedicated teaching, that‘s where we as teachers come into the picture. But it is this enthusiasm and passion that inspires us to dive deeper into our own music making and makes working with young quartets so rewarding.
Outside of teaching, what does the Calidore String Quartet have coming up this season?
Besides our teaching, we are happy to have resumed pre-pandemic levels of concert activity and are currently amidst a busy European tour with concerts in Italy, Spain, Germany, U.K., Denmark and the Czech Republic. Additionally, our recording of the Beethoven String Quartet cycle is nearing its completion with the first release coming in February 2023. We have already enjoyed many inspiring collaborations this season including with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, clarinetist Anthony McGill and cellist Pablo Ferrandez and are looking forward to many more in the coming months!