News & Events

DaPonte String Quartet to perform Oct. 2

The DaPonte String Quartet—which has appeared on stages in France, Scotland, Canada, and extensively throughout the U.S., and has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning—will perform an evening concert at the University of Maine at Presque on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Wieden Hall auditorium. This event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Based in mid-coast Maine, the members of the DaPonte String Quartet [DSQ] include Ferdinand “Dino” Liva and Lydia Forbes on violin, Myles Jordan on cello, and Kirsten Monke on viola. Not long after forming in Philadelphia 21 years ago, the DSQ surprised the musical world by moving from a cosmopolitan urban area to rural Maine. Nonetheless, the DSQ continues to be sought after to perform and teach all over the U.S. and around the world. Their performances have been broadcast over nationwide radio and television programs in the U.S. and Canada. They have received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Philadelphia Musical Fund Society, the Music Teachers National Association, Chamber Music America, and they have participated in several of the nation’s most prestigious concert series to rave reviews.

When CBS Sunday Morning nationally televised a profile of the group, the idea of living outside a major urban center suddenly appeared to be an appealing alternative lifestyle few musicians had considered. Few string quartets can boast such a devoted following. The people of Maine warmly embraced the DSQ, which has become an integral part of the state’s musical life. When the Quartet debuted at Carnegie Hall, a large contingent of their fans traveled to New York to hear and cheer them there. The New York Times wrote in amazement: “Let it not be said that the DaPonte String Quartet enters New York musical life without friends. Weill Hall was packed!” The state’s embrace of the DSQ has also taken the form of awards from the Maine Arts Commission.

This support enables the DSQ to perform a wide-ranging and varied repertoire. While many classical musicians struggling with the realities of the contemporary musical marketplace find themselves performing exclusively new compositions, the Quartet’s repertoire spans the entire history of music, from seventeenth-century works on original instruments to cutting-edge contemporary quartets, like the one written for them by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici. The DSQ is also known for their inventive interpretations of the works they play. The Boston Globe observed that whatever music they present — be it Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern, or Post-Modern — the freshness of the DSQ’s performances make these works appear novel and contemporary: “Once again, the music could have been hot off the presses.” Their performances affirm chamber music as a vital and alive art form.

The DaPonte String Quartet is now celebrating its 21st anniversary and its members are still proud to call Maine home.

A violinist and conductor, Ferdinand “Dino” Liva began studying the violin at age seven with his father, a noted conductor and teacher. He continued his education at the Peabody Conservatory with Berl Senofsky, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree. He then attended Temple University, working with Luis Biava, and graduated with a Master’s degree and a Professional Studies Certificate. He spent four years as Assistant Professor of violin and chamber music at Wilkes University and as conductor of the University Orchestra. In 1991, Liva became one of the founding members of the DSQ and he moved full-time to Maine in 1996. He continues to conduct and teach in Maine, enriching the lives of young musicians throughout the Midcoast. He has conducted the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra and University Orchestra. He currently teaches a private studio of students, conducts the Sea Coast Youth Orchestra, the Portland Youth Junior Orchestra, and the Sea Coast Community Orchestra. He also teaches violin as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern Maine.

Lydia Forbes’ career has been guided by a singular intention — to delve as deeply as possible into the magic of great chamber music literature, old and new. She has concertized throughout Europe and the U.K. with Ensemble L’Archibudelli, Zephyr Kwartet, Het Schoenberg Ensemble, Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Het Blazers Ensemble, Osiris Piano Trio, I Fiamminghi, and Ensemble Explorations. During this time, she recorded with some of the world’s most prominent labels: Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, CNM, and for Vienna Modern Masters as soloist with the Czech Radio Philharmonic. She has also performed for festivals in Europe, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. Forbes has also served as concertmaster for Het Orkest van het Oosten in the Netherlands. She was drawn to the DSQ by their love and respect for the work. She lives in Alna, Maine, with cellist Myles Jordan and their children.

Myles Jordan worked as a child actor for CBC Television and the National Film Board of Canada before taking up the cello. Inspired by the North American premiere of the second Shostakovich cello concerto and a Casals master class, he asked for and received from his father a bright orange Hofner cello as a birthday present. He went on to train at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta, the Britten-Pears School of Advanced Musical Studies in England, and at Schloss Weikersheim in Germany. In 1981, he won a Floyd S. Chalmers Foundation Award, which enabled him to study at the Juilliard School, and by 1983 he had earned two degrees there. From New York he moved to Philadelphia, where he served as associate principal cellist of the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra, completed a Doctor of Musical Arts, and founded the DSQ. Jordan has delivered lectures on early music performance practice at both the University of North Texas Graduate School Early Music Division and the Boston Early Music Festival. He also plays and teaches the Baroque violoncello piccolo.

A native of Brunswick, Maine, Kirsten Monke began lessons on the viola at age eight. She received both her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees at Indiana University, where she worked with Kim Kashkashian and Georges Janzer (of the Vegh Quartet and Grumiaux Trio). As a graduate fellow at UC Santa Barbara, where she studied with Heiichiro Ohyama, she was a founding member of the Anacapa String Quartet, winners of the Fischoff competition as well as recipients of various honors from Chamber Music America. Following 10 years of touring and concertizing with the ASQ, she served as Principal Violist of both the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. She also taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Westmont College, and at chamber music workshops across the country. Monke can be heard in recordings with the Anacapa Quartet and the Santa Barbara Symphony, as a soloist on a jazz CD featuring the music of Earl Stewart, and as a member of the Gove County String Quartet, a group that performs all original music. She joined the DaPonte String Quartet in 2008. She has recently joined the faculty of Rockport’s Bay Chamber Community Music School, where she teaches violin and viola and coaches chamber music.

The public is invited to attend this free concert. Donations will be accepted at the door to assist with future cultural events performances. For more information about the concert, please call 768-9452 or email info@maine.edu.