The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University offers the unique Master of Music degree in String Quartet Studies, a two-year residency program for existing quartets of outstanding potential. Under the leadership of violinists Kenneth Goldsmith (Mirecourt Trio) and Frank Huang (Houston Symphony), violist James Dunham (Cleveland and Sequoia string quartets) and cellist Norman Fischer (Concord String Quartet), the resident quartet refines and prepares to launch its professional career in the supportive, vibrant environment of one of America's most prestigious music schools.
The Dover String Quartet (formerly The Old City String Quartet) has won the praise of some of the greatest chamber musicians of our time. Formed at the Curtis Institute of Music in 2008, the ensemble draws from the musical lineage of both the Vermeer and Guarneri quartets, but brings a youthful enthusiasm and musical conviction to the repertoire that is truly its own. Joseph Silverstein said of the group: "[They are] one of the finest string quartets I have ever heard. I expect to see the ensemble reach international acclaim."
The ensemble's recording of the Mendelssohn and Debussy quartets, released in 2009 by the audiophile label Unipheye Music, was awarded the Blue Moon award by the highly respected audiophile website 6moons.com. The album's review by David Kan proclaimed that "...the maturity in these interpretations is phenomenal and disproportionate to the age [of the group.]"
Members of the Quartet have appeared as soloists with some of the world's finest orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony and BBC Concert Orchestra.
The Dover String Quartet was named Gold Medalist and Grand Prize winner of the 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, was awarded Second Prize in the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and as an ensemble has attended music festivals such as Artosphere and La Jolla SummerFest. The ensemble worked intensively at the Curtis Institute with such renowned chamber musicians as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Arnold Steinhardt, Joseph Silverstein, and Peter Wiley, and is currently the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas.