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Advanced String Quartet Workshop


Ages: 12 - 19
Sight-reading Party:  June 20, 7 - 9 p.m.   
Workshop:  June 26-29, 1 - 5 p.m.  

Registration open! Click HERE!

String players improve their musicianship and ensemble skills as they rehearse and are coached as a member of two string quartets. Each student will perform in a quartet at the masterclass taught by our guest artist. The workshop begins with a sight-reading party on June 20 from 7 – 9 p.m., where students will join their fellow musicians for light snacks and begin reading their music. Workshop activities during the week also include seminars on music theory, history, and rehearsal techniques. All quartets will perform in the final day recital in the Concert Hall.  

This year's guest artist is cellist Russell Rolen a founding member of the Spektral Quartet

"The Spektral Quartet is one of the leading lights of our time. A group so fiercely committed to bold, fresh, and honest performances that they literally sizzle and raise your hair when they play"-Claire Chase Flutist, founder and co-artistic director of International Contemporary Ensemble

"The city's hottest string quartet" -The Chicago Tribune

Russsell Rolen: A founding member of the Spektral Quartet, Russell Rolen has presented solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Based in Chicago, he performs regularly in the Chicago area and around the Midwest, appears frequently on Chicago’s WFMT, and is the principal cellist of the Firebird Chamber Orchestra in Miami, FL. Russell is passionate about teaching, and in the past has held posts teaching musicians from kindergarten through college and beyond. In addition to maintaining a private cello studio, he coaches chamber music at Northwestern University. The Spektral Quartet was recently named ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago, where they coach the student chamber music, present workshops and concerts, and work with the University’s vaunted composition department. An avid performer of new works by living composers, he has developed full recital programs consisting entirely of new works for cello solo and cello/piano, and through his Quartet has commissioned new works by a dozen composers. He also created, a multimedia resource for cellists and composers to explore the extended techniques of contemporary music. In June, Russell was awarded the Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University. He received his Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was the recipient of the Paul Collins Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, and earned his Bachelor’s degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, MD.


Workshop Schedule

•  May 1, Audition Registration Due

•  May 8, Auditions, MB101

•  June 20, 7 - 9 p.m., Sight-reading Party, MB103 

•  June 26-29, 1 - 5 p.m., Workshop activities

•  June 29, 5:00 p.m., Pizza dinner, cost shared by group

•  June 29, 6:00 p.m., Recital, Concert Hall  

Violin teacher and chamber musician Laurie Rodriguez is the director of the workshop.  She has been a private teacher with the NIU Community School for many years and has directed multiple chamber music workshops in Illinois, Utah and Minnesota. 

Auditions:  Auditions will take place on May 8. To reserve an audition time, musicians must submit a registration form with the $15 non-refundable registration fee no later than May 3. For the audition, be prepared to play two contrasting pieces and a 3-4 octave scale. You will also be asked to sight-read. The workshop is limited to 16 players.                                   

Because of the collaborative nature of preparing chamber music for performance, 100% attendance is required at all rehearsals and the recital. Please check your schedule before auditioning. 

Criteria for acceptance:  Performance level, space in the workshop, and the availability of compatible group members on complementary instruments are all considerations for admission. Those who are admitted will be informed within a week of the audition and are expected to pay the balance at that time. 

Director: Laurie Rodriguez

Coach and Technical Assistant: Josh Rodriguez
Coach: Nissa Sampson
Location: Room 103, Music Building
Fee: $200

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Kristin Sherman