Shouse Institute

For the past two decades, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival has fostered artistic excellence among young, emerging ensembles through the Catherine Filene Shouse Institute. Started in 1997, the educational program has launched the careers of many of today’s leading classical ensembles, including eighth blackbird, Calidore String Quartet, Pacifica, Jupiter and Ariel Quartets, Axiom Brass, Donald Sinta Quartet and the Claremont Trio.

“It is vitally important for gifted ensembles to have a place to go where they can hone their skills and have the opportunity to culminate in public performances. This kind of experience can be so helpful to young chamber groups.”

-Philip Setzer, Director of the Shouse Institute

“The Shouse Institute is such a special opportunity for young musicians to interact with peers in their field as well as an incredibly diverse group of mentors. My particular experience has meant so much to me since that time because I have found so many ways to deepened the relationships that began there, relationships that may not have developed if I had not been a part of the Festival. Additionally, the mentors are such incredible musical voices that made such an impression on me that I now often find myself in teaching situations where the guidance I received then is perfect fit to pass down to my own students.”

-Jessica Bodner, Parker Quartet (Shouse Institute, 2004)

“Great Lakes was a most nurturing and inspiring festival that provided us the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most well-respected chamber musicians in our field today. Looking back, the Harlem Quartet is extremely grateful to have had this experience during our formative years as an ensemble,and we’ll forever cherish our memories of the wonderful music-making that was had!”

-Melissa White, Harlem Quartet (Shouse Institute, 2008 and 2009)

“I’ve been very fortunate to attend several music festivals as an emerging artist. What I’ve found so special about Shouse was that I was treated like a colleague from the very beginning. The trust and support from the faculty and visiting artists is incredibly enriching.”

-Kevin Rogers, Friction Quartet (Shouse Institute, 2016 and 2017)

The Shouse Experience

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.

Shouse Benefits

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.

2019 Shouse Ensembles

Formed in 2016 at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Callisto Quartet brings together four dedicated and passionate musicians who share a love for chamber music. The quartet is based at CIM and works primarily with Si-Yan Darren Li and Peter Salaff. They have also had the opportunity to play in coachings and master classes for Mathieu Herzog, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Elliott Antokoletz and members of the Alban Berg, Belcea, Danish, Escher, Vermeer and Ying Quartets.

The Callisto Quartet was selected as the CIM Apprentice Quartet for 2017, a position which includes extensive education and performance activities throughout the Cleveland community and a recital on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society’s concert series. They are also featured as Ensemble-in-Residence at the Carolina Music Museum in Greenville, SC. The quartet was a prizewinner at the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, and was selected to compete in the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.

In the summer of 2017 the quartet received a fellowship to study at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival with members of the Brentano, Miro and Emerson quartets. They have also attended the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, the McGill International String Quartet Academy and the Robert Mann String Quartet Institute. In April 2018 they attended the Prussia Cove International Musicians Seminar where they were invited to study with Gerhard Schulz. Performances this past year include an appearance with David Geringas at the Cleveland Cello Society’s 20th anniversary concert.

F- PLUS is a violin, clarinet and percussion trio committed to collaborating with today’s most exciting composers to establish a diverse repertoire for their unique instrumentation. Formed in 2016 at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the ensemble has commissioned over 20 new works and has performed all over the country, from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York to the Art Institute of Chicago and the New Music Gathering in Boston.The 2018-2019 season includes performances in Chicago, IL at Constellation and the Poetry Foundation, in Detroit, MI and in Austin, TX, presented by Tetractys New Music. F-PLUS is committed to working with the next generation of composers, and looks forward to residencies at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Illinois State University and University of Texas at Austin during the 2018-2019 season. The ensemble has previously completed residencies at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, Stony Brook and Duke Universities.

The Thalea String Quartet is dedicated to bringing timeless music to audiences from all walks of life. From living rooms to concert stages around the world, the Thalea String Quartet aims to connect with audiences on a musical, emotional and personal level, from first time listeners to string quartet aficionados. They are devoted to building a new and diverse audience for chamber music through innovative programming and community engagement.

Formed in 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, the Thalea String Quartet has been praised for their “vibrant performance” and “sincere expressivity” (SF Classical Voice). The quartet has performed recitals in Italy, France, the United States and Canada and was appointed as the first quartet-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2015-17. They were named one of the “Top 10 Bay Area Quartets You Should Know” by and were the recipients of the 2016 Barbara Fritz Chamber Music Award from the Berkeley Piano Club. They made their debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in early 2016.

The Thalea String Quartet prides itself on the diversity of its collaborations. They have performed Mendelssohn’s Octet in its original manuscript form with the award-winning Borromeo Quartet and shared the stage with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw in performances of works for voice and string quartet. They have performed alongside Geoff Nuttall of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, violist Jodi Levitz and composer Mason Bates. They were invited to participate in the 2017 KRONOS Festival, where they performed works from the Kronos Quartet’s “50 for the Future” Project. Committed to collaborating with artists of all backgrounds, the Thalea String Quartet recently collaborated with San Francisco-based dance theatre company the Joe Goode Performance Group at the Yerba Buena Center and appeared with acclaimed Canadian band BADBADNOTGOOD at the iconic Massey Hall.

The Thalea Quartet has been fortunate to have been mentored by members of the Juilliard, Kronos, Takács, Pacifica and Danish String Quartets. During their multiple residencies at the Banff Centre they worked with Gilbert Kalish, Mark Steinberg, Alasdair Tait and the JACK and Miró Quartets.

The members of the Thalea String Quartet are dedicated educators and bring their commitment to teaching and community engagement to their frequent educational and community performances. They have performed educational concerts to students of all ages and regularly perform at care facilities across San Francisco.

The Thalea String Quartet was appointed the Sphinx Ensemble at the 2018 Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival served as ensemble-in-residence at the Bear Valley Music Festival. They were recently named finalists at the upcoming Chamber Music Yellow Springs and Coltman competitions.

Christopher Whitley (violin) is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Kumiko Sakamoto (violin) is from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada; Luis Bellorín (viola) is from Naperville, Illinois; and Titilayo Ayangade (cello) is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Thalea String Quartet is a fiscally-sponsored affiliate of InterMusic SF, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to small-ensemble music in the San Francisco Bay Area.