A Decade With Dover: In-demand quartet returns to Artosphere roots

A Decade With Dover: In-demand quartet returns to Artosphere roots

Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt candidly admits that the Dover Quartet’s canceled Artosphere appearance last year was perhaps the most heartbreaking of all the cancellations that happened to the ensemble in 2020.

The four young musicians had only been performing together as a group a little less than three years when they made their first Artosphere Festival appearance in 2011. The 10th anniversary of their festival debut finds the foursome a consistent festival staple and resident ensemble. Violist Pajaro-van de Stadt acknowledges they “basically grew up as a group in Fayetteville,” and enthusiastically shares that she is looking forward to returning to their home away from home.

“We’re not just breaking barriers between playing classical music and what the audience does, or how they respond to it, or who the audience even is. But kind of breaking all the barriers of what types of music you can play all in one of the same sets,” she says, thinking on past festival events. “Everything is so inclusive and open. It’s really satisfying.”

It’s been a busy year for the musicians as they’ve mostly kept up their regular schedule, minus the 250 or so days out of the year usually spent traveling.

Following a four-month break — the longest they’d spent apart in more than a decade — there was recording and live streaming; a full (virtual) teaching schedule through both Northwestern University and the Curtis Institute of Music, their alma mater; the ensemble’s first Grammy Award nomination for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for their recording, “The Schumann Quartets”; and the debut of the group’s new documentary, “Strings Attached.”

“In a way, we were very one-dimensional in the sense that almost all we did up until this point was tour,” Pajaro-van de Stadt says, pausing on the Curtis hiring.

The faculty positions through Curtis allow Pajaro-van de Stadt and her ensemble partners Joel Link (violin), Bryan Lee (violin) and Camden Shaw (cello) the flexibility and the resources to investigate new and nontraditional career models for the contemporary musician.

“Not just performing, not just teaching, and not just recording, but all of those things kind of combined in every which way,” she says.

The band’s pre-pandemic hustle is explored at length in their new documentary, which will also be screening during the festival. For some 18 months — but really, more than two years when all the extra pieces are added up — Dover was followed by a small film crew to probe the machinations of being one of the world’s most in-demand ensembles. “To humanize what we do,” Pajaro-van de Stadt offers.

Viewers will even notice some footage from one of Dover’s previous Artosphere visits. It was important to her and her colleagues, Pajaro-van de Stadt shares, that the crew include “one of the most important and meaningful places we go every year.”

“Although I have to say,” she adds, “one of the scenes while we’re at Artosphere is a pretty intense one. It’s like raw, in the middle of rehearsal, we have a kind of tense heart-to-heart with one another.

“But I think there’s something to be said for that — that we really feel at home at Artosphere and that we could be some of our rawest, truest selves, of all the time we were being filmed and followed around, right there in Fayetteville in a practice room at the Walton Art Center.”





Dover Quartet: Live from Walton Arts Center

WHEN — 7 p.m. May 18

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — Performance is sold out, but will be broadcast live on KUAF 91.3FM

INFO — 443-5600, waltonartsccenter.org, doverquartet.com


‘Strings Attached: On the Road with the Dover Quartet’ Screening

WHEN — 7 p.m May 19

WHERE — Baum Walker Hall at WAC

COST — Free with registration; limited seats remain

INFO — stringsattachedmovie.com

Categories: Music