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.

2020 Shouse Ensembles

The AYA Trio was formed in 2013 at the Curtis Institute of Music where they have since studied with Peter Wiley as their main coach, Jonathan Biss, Arnold Steinhardt and Meng-Shieh Lieu.

The Trio has participated in masterclasses with Peter Wiley, Robert Levine, Noah Bendix-Bagely, Peter Stumpf  and Jessica Lee, and have performed numerous times in the Philadelphia Area including performances in the Philadelphia Club and the Curtis Institute of Music.

The AYA Trio was awarded 1st prize in the 2018 WDAV Chamber Music Competition as well as advancing to the semi-finals of the 2018 MPrize and Fischoff Chamber music competitions.

The Deka Quartet formed in 2015 at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY where members first met as doctoral candidates. They have held residencies at the Banff Chamber Music Program in Alberta, Canada, the Bowdoin Music Festival in Maine, the inaugural New Music for Strings Music Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, and have participated in the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar at Stanford University. Members of the quartet hold various degrees from the Juilliard School, Columbia University, Bard College, Yale University, Manhattan School of Music, and Stony Brook University.

Recent performances include invitations from the MET Museum in celebration of their 2018 exhibition, “Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera;” Yale University to perform at their annual Symposium on Music in Schools; the Rite of Springs Music Festival in Long Island, NY; and a performance of Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro alongside celebrated flutist Carol Wincenc and harpist Nancy Allen.

The quartet has been closely mentored by the Emerson String Quartet and David Finckel for the past half decade. During this period, the Dekas participated in the inaugural class of both Philip Setzer’s String Quartet Intensive Program and the recently formed Emerson String Quartet Institute at Stony Brook University.

The Dekas are deeply committed to teaching the next generation of musicians, and they collectively teach over 80 students on a weekly basis. In the fall, they will serve as Artists-in-Residence through the SUNY Rockefeller Institute of Government. They will be embarking on an exciting pilot program that involves teaching college students as well as children in the Empire State Youth Orchestra in upstate New York.

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.