The Dover Quartet, ensemble-in-residence at Philadelphia's prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, has named Julianne Lee as its new violist.


Ms Lee, who currently serves as assistant principal second violin of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal second violin with the Boston Pops Orchestra, has made a name for herself with both the violin and viola, appearing as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player.

She begins her new role with the Dover Quartet, who we named as one of the ten greatest string quartets of all time, in September 2023, joining violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee and cellist Camden Shaw.

Formed in 2008 at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Dover Quartet has been coached by members of the Guarneri, Cleveland, and Vermeer quartets. The group’s awards include a stunning sweep of all prizes at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, grand and first prizes at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and prizes at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition.

The quartet has collaborated, or is shortly to collaborate with the likes of Emanuel Ax, Ray Chen, the Escher and Pavel Haas Quartets, Bridget Kibbey, Anthony McGill, and the late Peter Serkin.

Recent releases include the third volume of their traversal of the Beethoven string quartets. Volume two, comprising the middle quartets, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2022, as was the quartet’s recording of the Schumann string quartets for Azica Records in 2020.

Julianne Lee has toured nationally and internationally with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Marlboro Music Festival, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, where she held the title of guest principal violist. She also served as the second violinist of the Johannes String Quartet, an ensemble that performed commissioned works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Derek Bermel, and William Bolcom.

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'We are thrilled to welcome Curtis alumna Julianne Lee back to the school as she joins our faculty and the Dover Quartet,' says president and CEO Roberto Díaz. 'Throughout Curtis’s nearly 100-year history, we have emphasised training young musicians to excel at chamber music, in addition to orchestral and solo repertoire, which makes the Curtis experience so unique. I am delighted to see Julianne and the quartet carry on this legacy, and inspire generations of students and audiences.'

'To say it was ‘love at first sound’ might sound silly, but that’s exactly what we experienced when we first read with Julianne,' says Camden Shaw, cellist of the Dover Quartet.

'There was the uncanny feeling that we had already played together for years; and yet at the same time, the group sounded uniquely fresh and inspired. We are so fortunate and grateful to be welcoming her into our family and look forward to taking the Dover Quartet to new musical heights!'


Ms Lee’s appointment follows the departure of the Dover Quartet’s founding violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt in August 2022, and the season-long appointment of violist Hezekiah Leung for the 2022–23 season.


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.