main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

main menu

Top string program for young musicians moves to U-M


The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be the new home of Center Stage Strings (CSS), one of the country’s leading summer training programs for young string musicians, ages 12 to 24. Danielle Belen, U-M associate professor of violin who founded the summer camp in Three Rivers, Calif. in 2010, will continue as its artistic director.

Beginning in summer 2016, CSS will join the ranks of SMTD’s MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes, which offer high school students the opportunity to train with distinguished U-M faculty, alumni, and other professionals in the areas of music performance, music technology, musical theatre, theatre, and dance. The CSS program, spanning a full four weeks, will be the longest of the MPulse Institutes and will welcome competitive college students as well.

Belen hopes that CSS in Michigan will fill a void created by the closing of the esteemed summer institute Encore School for Strings, sponsored by the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), which was founded and directed by former CIM president David Cerone. The program was phased out after his retirement in 2008. Belen is an alumna of Encore and found inspiration in that model, which is focused on solo and chamber music.

“Center Stage Strings focuses on the individual,” said Belen. “A summer of study can be life changing for a teenage student. In most cases, students leave feeling like they have accomplished more in several intensive weeks than they have in an entire school year."

Belen, already a seasoned pedagogue in her early 30s, was a full-time faculty member at the Colburn School in Los Angeles before assuming her position at U-M in 2014. She was the winner of the 2008 Sphinx Competition and has appeared as a soloist with major symphonies across the U.S.  She is also a former student and teaching assistant of Robert Lipsett, an esteemed pedagogue based at The Colburn School. Now on the advisory board for CSS, Lipsett will give a master class this coming summer at CSS.  

The move from the smaller retreat location in Three Rivers to the campus of the University of Michigan is a significant one for CSS, as students will now have access to professional-level practice rooms and performance halls to focus on their development as soloists and chamber musicians.  

"We are thrilled to include CSS in our summer line-up of Youth & Adult Programs at the U-M School of Music Theatre & Dance,” said Sarah J. Rau, program manager of MPulse. “Since the closing of Encore, there has not been a premier summer program for strings. I have no doubt that under Danielle's leadership, CSS at U-M will become the new summer destination for young string players."

Joining Belen on the CSS faculty for its first summer at Michigan are Elbert Tsai, also an alum of Encore and a former student of Robert Lipsett; Stephen Shipps, chair of the SMTD Department of Strings and professor of violin; Caroline Coade, SMTD lecturer of viola and acting assistant principal violist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; and Wei Yu, newly appointed principal cellist of the Detroit Symphony.

In addition, CSS will bring in a host of world-class teachers and performing artists for master classes and chamber ensemble coaching. Piano collaboration, a key ingredient in the development of string players, will also figure prominently, with a team of pianists led by Jennie Jung, a renowned collaborative pianist who has performed in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe, and has been on staff at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria; Aspen Summer Music Festival; and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

SMTD’s dean, Aaron Dworkin, was instrumental in establishing CSS at Michigan. As founder of the Sphinx Organization, Dworkin has long been committed to providing exceptional string training programs for young people, and is eager for SMTD to be home to the country’s top summer string program for pre-college and college-age musicians.

“With its central location, beautiful campus, and first rate faculty, SMTD is positioned to become a key player in developing the next generation of string players,” said Dworkin. “In combining CSS with our fantastic MPulse program, we are creating an expanded center of summer study for extraordinary students from across the county, and even internationally.” 


past news

November 2015
October 2014

Anisha Nandi, from The Michigan Daily, sat down with professor Michael Gould to talk about his "Remember Me" show. The video can be seen on the Michigan Daily website.   10/01/2014

July 2014

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Dance, Peter Sparling is a recipient of a Distinguished University Professorship. Effective September 1, Sparling will be a Rudolf Arnheim Distinguished University Professor. This appointment is one of the highest honors the University can bestow upon a faculty member.   07/18/2014

Professor Patricia Hall will be presenting her paper, "Alban Berg's 'Guilt' by Association to the Music, Censorship and Meaning in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union conference at the Colburn School in Los Angeles this August.   07/12/2014

April 2014

Prof. Ed Sarath Receives U-M's "Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award" 04/21/2014

Professor Kuster Wins Prestigious OPERA America Grant 04/04/2014

Professor Mukherji to Speak in London this July 04/04/2014

Áine Heneghan, Assistant Professor of Music Theory, will present her research on Schoenberg's Formenlehre at the following conferences, all in 2014: Music Theory Midwest (Appleton, WI), the Eighteenth Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music (Toronto, Canada), EuroMAC (Leuven, Belgium), and the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory (Milwaukee).   04/01/2014

March 2014

U-M UpstART Festival Begins 03/31/2014

A Multimedia Installation on Climate Change 03/28/2014

Wayne Petty, Associate Professor of Music Theory, will read his paper, "Some Multimovement Designs in C. P. E. Bach's Late Keyboard Sonatas" at the Seventh EuroMac conference, which will gather scholars from all music theory societies in Europe in Leuven, Belgium, from 17 to 21 September, 2014.  An adaptation of the paper will be presented to the Society for Music Theory in Milwaukee in the Fall of 2014.   03/26/2014

Walter Everett, Professor of Music Theory, announces the publication of Los Beatles como músicos: De Revolver de la Antología (Buenos Aires: Eterna Cadencia, 2013), the Spanish translation of his The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver through the Anthology (Oxford University Press, 1999).   03/21/2014

Celebration of Professor George Shirley's 80th Birthday 03/19/2014

Prof. Korsyn presents keynote in The Hague, serves in scholarly appointments 03/14/2014

December 2013

In January 2014 Professor Wayne Petty will read the paper, "Wilhelm Fischer and the Fortspinnung-type Sonata Exposition," at the Seventh International Conference on Music Theory in Tallin and Pärnu, Estonia.  The conference theme is "Musical Form: Mapping the Territories."   12/17/2013

AmeriGrove II, edited by Professor Charles Garrett, is published 12/13/2013

November 2013

Gosman Presents Beethoven Research 11/16/2013

Department of Music Theory Announces Visiting Speakers of 2014 11/16/2013

Everett Launches Beatles Observances 11/16/2013

Interarts professor Holly Hughes presents The Dog and Pony Show (Bring Your Own Pony) in a webcast performance at the Chicago Humanities Festival on Mon., Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Her newest performance work, the piece offers a poetic and comic meditation on midlife crises in the key of canine.   11/01/2013

September 2013

SMTD Welcomes New Faculty 09/27/2013

Ramon Satyendra, associate professor of music theory, has published his essay, "Morphisms of Generalized Interval Systems and PR-Groups" (co-authored with Thomas Fiore and Thomas Noll), in Journal of Mathematics and Music 7/1.   09/20/2013

Alan Gosman Co-authors New Beethoven Book 09/06/2013

July 2013

Professor Ashley Lucas and three Theatre & Drama students are engaged in an intensive exchange program with UniRio in Rio de Janiero, Brazil this summer, where they are blogging about their experiences in UniRio's prison arts program and more.   07/12/2013

June 2013

SMTD Mourns Professor Emeritus Erling Bengtsson 06/10/2013

Holly Hughes, professor of interarts performance in the Department of Theatre & Drama, was profiled in Hyperallergic, an online magazine about art and culture, which included a Q&A with Hughes about her role as one of the "NEA Four."   06/06/2013

Music theory professor Walter Everett's role as an expert on the music of the Beatles was the subject of an article in      06/06/2013

Hall presents in Copenhagen 06/03/2013

May 2013

Robert Hurst, associate professor of jazz and contemporary improvisation, was featured in a Q&A article in on the occasion of the release of his new CD, BOB: a palindrome.   05/01/2013

November 2012
November 2011
February 2010
Student studying with Danielle Belen, founder of Center Stage Strings
Current Faculty News
Prof. Ellen Rowe honored as Arthur F. Thurnau Professormore
Theatre professor's play inspired by deadly incident on Mexican bordermore

main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower