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.

2021 Shouse Ensembles

Founded in Ann Arbor in 2016, the Ivalas Quartet is composed of violinists Reuben Kebede and Tiani Butts, violist Aimée McAnulty, and cellist Pedro Sánchez. Currently, the quartet serves as the Graduate Quartet in residence at The University of Colorado – Boulder where they study under the renowned Takács Quartet. Ivalas has performed with artists such as the Calidore String Quartet, Imani Winds, Danielle Belen, David Ying, and Patricia Terry-Ross. In January 2020, they had their Carnegie Hall debut when they participated as a young artist quartet at the 2020 Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference in NYC. The quartet has also been heard on WRCJ 90.9 FM’s Classical Brunch series and appeared at the inaugural Detroit Music Weekend. Maintaining their commitment to community engagement, Ivalas has also represented the Sphinx Organization playing for students in Flint and the Metro Detroit area. The quartet has been awarded first prize in the 2019 WDAV Young Artists Chamber Music Competition as well as first prize in the 2018 Briggs Chamber Music Competition and was named a semifinalist group at both the M-Prize competition and Concert Artists Guild competition in New York. Ivalas has been a fellowship quartet at festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival and School, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Crested Butte Music Festival and the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival. Ivalas has been coached by members of the Emerson, Pacifica, American, Escher, Calidore, Brentano, St. Lawrence, Ying, Turtle Island, and Jupiter string quartets, as well as Paul Katz, Jeffrey Zeigler, Mikhail Kopelman, Kirsten Docter, Richard Aaron, Danielle Belen, Stephen Shipps, Meta Weiss, Erika Eckert, Andrew Jennings and Kathryn Votapek.

Praised for their “huge range of dynamics, massive sound and spontaneity” (American Record Guide), the Viano String Quartet are First Prize winners of the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Formed in 2015 at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where they are Ensemble-in-Residence through the 2020-21 season, the quartet has performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Place Flagey, Konzerthaus Berlin, and Segerstrom Center for the Arts. 

Since the 2020 Covid lockdown, the Viano String Quartet has been actively presenting virtual and socially distanced live concerts for various organizations, including the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Friends of Chamber Music of Troy, Salt Lake Chamber Music Society, Dallas Chamber Music Society, Schneider Series at the New School, and the Banff International String Quartet Festival. With their colleagues in the Calidore String Quartet, they presented a movement of the Mendelssohn Octet while distanced across countries in a film project “The Way Forward.” As part of the Banff International String Quartet Competition prize, the quartet is in residence at the Meadows School of Music at the Southern Methodist University through the 2022-23 season. For two weeks each semester, they will perform side-by-side concerts, coach chamber ensembles, and initiate projects within the SMU community. 

Their 2019-20 season saw performances on three continents, including debuts in Berlin, Paris, Bremen, Brussels, Vancouver, and Beijing, among other cities. The quartet also gave several performances within Los Angeles at Boston Court, the Music Guild, and Zipper Hall, and produced a recording with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. They have collaborated with world-class musicians such as pianists Emanuel Ax and Elisso Virsaladze, violists Paul Coletti and Paul Neubauer, violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley, and vocalist Hila Plitmann. 

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