Philip Setzer, Shouse Institute Director


The Shouse Institute seeks emerging groups pursuing a career in chamber music. Participating ensembles are viewed not as students, but as young colleagues of the Festival artists. Each group is given multiple performance opportunities on Festival concerts, including collaborations with Festival artists. Shouse fellows enjoy intensive coaching opportunities with some of the world’s most renowned chamber musicians. 

All Shouse fellows receive lodging, travel to and from the Festival, transportation assistance during the Festival, and per diem.

Qualified applicants are groups of 3 to 6 musicians. Duos will occasionally be considered. Wind, brass, percussion or mixed ensembles are eligible. Ensemble members should generally not be older than age 30 at the time of application, though there are no strict age requirements. Ensembles should be committed to a career in chamber music. Up to four ensembles will be selected to participate. No individual may apply for participation with more than one ensemble. No changes in personnel will be allowed once the application has been submitted, unless consent is given by the Festival. 


This season, we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Festival’s Shouse Institute. Started in 1996, the educational program has launched the careers of many of today’s leading classical ensembles, including eighth blackbird, Pacifica, Jupiter and Ariel Quartets, Axiom Brass, Donald Sinta Quartet and the Claremont Trio.
Each year, the Festival brings up to five young chamber groups to perform and be coached by Festival artists as part of the institute. These ensembles engage in the two-week Festival with intensive performances and coachings.


The 2018 Artistic Encounter Schedule will be announced soon! 

Musical Chairs comes from the imagination of Shouse Institute Director Philip Setzer. Shouse groups are deconstructed and reassembled as fellows are challenged to perform together for the first time. Each group will include one special member and coach - Setzer himself.

Purchase your punch card and learn more about Artistic Encounters HERE.


2017 Shouse Ensembles

Friction Quartet

Sponsored by Kathleen O’Toole Schein and Randolph Schein

Friction Quartet, whose performances have been called “terribly beautiful” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “stunningly passionate” (Calgary Herald) and “chillingly effective” (San Francisco Examiner), exists to expand the string quartet repertoire and audience for adventurous contemporary music. More at

Omer Quartet

Shouse Ensemble

Sponsored by Honigman

Finalists and prizewinners of the 2016 Bordeaux International Competition in France, the Omer Quartet was named the 2013 Grand Prize and Gold Medal Winner of the 40th Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Praised by U-T San Diego for playing with a “sense of discovery and adventure, but also with considerable finesse,” they have performed across North America and Europe.


Sponsored by Lawrence & Isabel Francis Smith Family Foundation