Sponsored in part by the Anthony E. Perrotti Great Performances Endowment
The DaPonte String Quartet
The DaPonte String Quartet was formed in Philadelphia in 1991, and arrived in Maine in 1995 on a Rural Residency Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America. At the end of the grant period, unlike most groups sent to enrich rural communities, the four musicians and their families decided to put down personal and professional roots in Maine and to build their career from there.
The quartet fell in love with the people and the quality of life in Maine. But, from the beginning, they had the highest of aspirations and the talent to achieve them. They wanted to play the world’s great chamber music in the world’s greatest concert halls. They also wanted to record music -- old and new. And, integral to these goals was a desire to become part of the cultural fabric of Maine. They are on their way to achieving all three goals.
What They Play And Where
The quartet’s standard repertoire is extensive, from the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, to Debussy, Bartók, and Shostakovich. So is the quartet’s commitment to commissioning and performing new music from composers like David Del Tredici, Gia Comolli and Tom Myron. They play music they love, and their joy in performance makes the music – no matter when it was written – come alive.
When the DaPonte String Quartet made its Carnegie Hall debut on April 15, 2005, The New York Times led its review: “Let it not be said that the DaPonte String Quartet enters New York concert life without friends. Weill Recital Hall was packed on Friday.”
That evening, the quartet’s presentation of a major new work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici elicited a standing ovation. Del Tredici, who was in attendance, said: “The DaPonte is a first-rate string quartet. Their imagination, skill and dedication brought my first string quartet vibrantly to life!”
And Strings Magazine said, “”The fearless DaPonte is at the top of its game.”
The DaPonte String Quartet has been profiled in The New York Times and on CBS Sunday Morning. Performance highlights have included the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Beethoven Cycle at the University at Buffalo (N.Y.), McGill University in Montreal, the Scottish Academy of Music in Glasgow, Music Mountain in Connecticut, Mohawk Trail series in Massachusetts, Bowdoin College, Hofstra University, Rhode Island School of Design, and the universities of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Alabama as well as Eckerd College and Rockefeller University. The DSQ has been presented on Performance Today for Public Radio International, on Maine Public Television, Radio-Canada, and numerous National Public Radio affiliates.
The DSQ as Mentors and Teachers
The Quartet’s commitment to developing a love of music in children is expressed through many in-school performances in Maine and on tour. In 2003, the Quartet premiered a work commissioned from Gia Comolli called “String Play” that highlights the techniques and the special effects that string instruments produce while playing music. It is a charming piece, wonderful music in its own right, with narration and materials that can be tailored to various age levels.
The Quartet has played “String Play” often, in Maine and elsewhere. Last year, when they played it in Tuscaloosa, AL, the concert presenter wrote saying, “Thank you so much for sending your wonderful quartet to Tuscaloosa….They played a fabulous concert… and presented the best program to children I have ever seen the next day.”
This past season, they were invited back to Tuscaloosa and also to Huntsville, AL for more of the same, and, in Maine, the DSQ did 18 in-school presentations, underwritten by the Falcon Foundation and Science Source.
In addition, the DaPonte annually presents an intensive workshop for Maine’s talented young string players. Now in its fifth season, this workshop is offered without charge through an endowment from the Kennedy Learning Center in Nobleboro.
The quartet members are dedicated teachers. Whether working with the finest young professional musicians through their residency at the University of Northern Texas, with Maine high school musicians, or with grade-school children at in-school performances, the quartet always gives each young person the its personal best.
The Only Thing That Matters
The four musicians of the DaPonte String Quartet embody the contemporary version of a classical string quartet. They have achieved an absolute balance of technique and passion that makes performances magic, and they are committed to ensuring that a great musical tradition will continue.
“…noble fluency and well-plotted togetherness – the fruit of the DaPonte’s diligence, enterprise and adventurous musicianship.” Richard Rand, Tuscaloosa News
“…gives dramatic and stylish readings.” Catherine Nelson, The Strad
“DaPonte infuses performances with musical excitement.” Christopher Hyde Portland Herald Press