Caramoor is thrilled to present Strings Attached: On the road with the Dover Quartet, a new documentary by director Bruce Broder which delves into the lives, on and off stage, of the four musicians of the Dover Quartet. Since their Ernst Stiefel String Quartet residency at Caramoor in 2013-14, the Dover have had a meteoric rise to stardom. From their stunning sweep of the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2013, the documentary follows the four musicians’ personal and professional growing pains as they realize their dreams of becoming one of the world’s most in-demand string quartets.
The most-viewed film at the Martha’s Vineyard FILMUSIC Festival!
This movie is available for on-demand screening at any time from January 24 – 30, 2021. The Caramoor Members perk of being able to watch our livestreams for free does not apply for this virtual screening.
Hailed as “the next Guarneri Quartet” (Chicago Tribune) and “the young American string quartet of the moment,” (New Yorker), the Dover Quartet catapulted to international stardom in 2013, following a stunning sweep of all prizes at the Banff Competition and has since become one of the most in-demand ensembles in the world. In addition to its faculty role as the inaugural Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Dover Quartet holds residencies with the Kennedy Center, Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Artosphere, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, and Peoples’ Symphony Concerts in New York. Among the group’s honors are the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award. The Dover Quartet has also won top prizes at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. In the 2020–21 season, the Dover Quartet debuts with Berkeley’s Cal Performances and New York’s 92nd Street Y, performs in venues in London and Copenhagen, and embarks on its first-ever tour of Latin America, which will be conducted using virtual technology. Upcoming tour performances include collaborations with the Escher Quartet, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, and harpist Bridget Kibbey. The quartet’s first volume of the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle, which focuses on the composer’s Op. 18 quartets, is set to release from Cedille Records in September 2020. Among its many notable performances in 2019–20, the Dover Quartet made its Zankel Hall debut in collaboration with Emanuel Ax and returned to London’s Wigmore Hall. Other recent collaborators include Inon Barnaton, Ray Chen, Edgar Meyer, Anthony McGill, the late Peter Serkin, and Roomful of Teeth. Equally comfortable with repertoire from a range of eras, the quartet has worked with some of the world’s foremost living composers, including Caroline Shaw and Mason Bates. Cedille Records released the Dover Quartet’s Voices of Defiance: 1943, 1944, 1945 in October 2017; and an all-Mozart debut recording in the 2016–17 season, featuring the late Michael Tree, violist of the Guarneri Quartet. Voices of Defiance, which explores works written during World War II by Viktor Ullman, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Simon Laks, was lauded upon its release as “undoubtedly one of the most compelling discs released this year,” (Wall Street Journal). The Dover Quartet draws from the lineage of the distinguished Guarneri, Cleveland, and Vermeer quartets. Its 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, Michael Tree, and Peter Wiley. It was at Curtis that the Dover Quartet formed, and its name pays tribute to Dover Beach by fellow Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber. The Dover Quartet is the Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at Curtis. Their faculty residency integrates teaching and mentorship, a robust international performance career, and a cutting-edge digital presence. With this innovative residency, Curtis reinvigorates its tradition of maintaining a top professional string quartet on its faculty, while providing resources for the ensemble to experiment with new technologies and engage audiences through digital means. Working closely with students in the Nina von Maltzahn String Quartet Program, the resident ensemble will recruit the most promising young string quartets and foster their development in order to nurture a new generation of leading professional chamber ensembles. The Dover Quartet is dedicated to sharing its music with under-served communities and is actively involved with Music for Food, an initiative enabling musicians to raise resources and awareness in the fight against hunger.
Bruce Broder, director
Message from The Director
Though I could barely carry a tune, I was always a music guy. I listened to the radio incessantly and had songs playing in my head every waking hour. I played in bands in high school and college. Then my son found his way into the music world and I became a music dad. One of his closest friendships, starting at age 10, was with Milena, one of my subjects in Strings Attached. She and her family, the Pajaro van de Stadts, lived a few doors down from us. One night we were all together and Milena, age 12, got the idea to fill all the wine glasses with water to varying levels and then play tunes by rubbing the rims. Even then, the pitch was perfect, and she was able to take requests. That’s the year she also won the Jacksonville Symphony Concerto Competition, competing against musicians in their twenties. I kept up with Milena’s career ever since, and when the Dover Quartet formed, I became close with Joel and Bryan and Camden as well. How do four musicians with such jaw-dropping individual talent find each other and how do they each decide to set aside solo careers for the group endeavor of a String Quartet? What’s it like struggling to break out of the pack of hundreds of string quartets graduating each year? How is one able to interact so intensely with the same bandmates day after day? Is it even possible to make a living at this? And maybe most intriguing to me, might the Dover Quartet make this centuries-old music form “cool” again in an era of streaming music of the moment? Can a young group like the Dover Quartet bring new audiences to classical music on the strength of the vitality of their playing? The Dovers allowed me to travel with them for over a year because they thought those were good questions, ones that they, not coincidentally, were trying to work out for themselves. — Bruce Broder
Bruce Broder is a documentary filmmaker living in Washington DC. His first film, Chops, followed a Florida high school jazz band’s quest to get to New York and compete in the highest-level jazz band competition in the country. Chops premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and was distributed by Virgil Films. It won Best Documentary at three Film Festivals and was selected for presentation by the International Documentary Association. In his review of the film, Baltimore Sun critic Michael Sragow wrote:
It’s a tribute to Broder’s powers of observation and empathy that when the kids, in simple language, explain what it means to swing as one, they do acquire a kind of bardic clout…the effect is overpowering.
Prior to filmmaking, Broder wrote, produced and directed commercials—taking a special interest in music tracks–for advertising agencies in Detroit, Baltimore and Jacksonville, FL. He also headed the creative departments of those agencies and was President of two of them.