Hailed as “the next Guarneri Quartet” (Chicago Tribune) and “the young American string quartet of the moment” (The New Yorker), the Dover Quartet catapulted to international stardom in 2013, when they won every prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. Since then, they’ve become one of the most in-demand ensembles in the world. In addition to their faculty role as the inaugural Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, the quartet holds residencies with The Kennedy Center, the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts in New York, and Artosphere. Among the quartet’s honors are the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and the Hunt Family Award—one of the inaugural Lincoln Center Awards for Emerging Artists. The quartet has also won top prizes at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
In the 2020–21 season, the Dover Quartet debuted with Berkeley’s Cal Performances and performed on their first-ever tour of Latin America, both of which occurred using virtual technology. Upcoming tour performances include collaborations with the Escher String Quartet, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, and harpist Bridget Kibbey. The quartet is recording the complete Beethoven String Quartets cycle, and Cedille Records released the first volume in the series, which focuses on the composer’s Op. 18 quartets, in late 2020.
Highlights of the Dover Quartet’s 2019–20 season included their debut at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in a collaboration with pianist Emanuel Ax and their return to London’s Wigmore Hall. Other recent collaborations were with pianist Inon Barnatan, violinist Ray Chen, bassist Edgar Meyer, clarinetist Anthony McGill, the late pianist Peter Serkin, and the vocal band Roomful of Teeth.
Cedille Records released the Dover Quartet’s Voices of Defiance: 1943, 1944, 1945 in 2017 and an all-Mozart debut recording that features Michael Tree, the late violist of the Guarneri Quartet, in 2016. Voices of Defiance, which explores works written during World War II by Viktor Ullmann, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Simon Laks, was lauded upon its release by The Wall Street Journal as “undoubtedly one of the most compelling discs released this year.”
The Dover Quartet’s 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, Peter Wiley, and Mr. Tree. The Dover Quartet formed at Curtis, and the group’s name pays tribute to Dover Beach, a work for voice and string quartet by Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber. The Dover Quartet draws from the lineage of the distinguished Guarneri, Cleveland, and Vermeer string quartets. They’re equally comfortable with repertoire from a range of eras and have worked with some of the world’s foremost living composers, including Caroline Shaw and Mason Bates.
In their role as Curtis’s Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence, the Dover Quartet integrates teaching and mentorship, a robust international performance career, and a cutting-edge digital presence. With this innovative residency, Curtis is reinvigorating its tradition of maintaining a top professional string quartet on its faculty while providing resources for the quartet to experiment with new technologies and engage audiences through digital means. Working closely with students in the school’s Nina von Maltzahn String Quartet Program, the resident ensemble recruits the most promising young string quartets and fosters their development in order to nurture a new generation of leading professional chamber ensembles.
The Dover Quartet is dedicated to sharing its music with underserved communities and is actively involved with Music for Food, an initiative that enables musicians to raise resources and awareness in the fight against hunger.
The Dover Quartet plays on the following instruments and proudly endorses Thomastik-Infeld strings: Violinist Joel Link: a very fine Peter Guarneri of Mantua violin kindly loaned to him by Irene R. Miller through the Beare’s International Violin Society. Violinist Bryan Lee: Riccardo Antoniazzi, Milan, 1904. Violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt: unknown maker from the Brescian School, early 18th century. Cellist Camden Shaw: Frank Ravatin, France, 2010.