Every two years the Department of Music at Boise State holds auditions for graduate students to become a part of the selective Graduate String Quartet.
These in-person auditions are presided over by not only the music department at Boise State but also by music director, Robert Franz, of the Boise Philharmonic. The quartet will consist of two violins, one cello and one bass.
If selected, students will be rewarded with a $16,000 two-year scholarship. Selected students are then commited to the experience. All performers are required to be admitted to the Master of Music degree, with an emphasis in performance or music education.
Requirements for those selected are extensive but necessary in order to give these students an opportunity to reap the benefits of the program, and the performance experience.
Dr. Brian Hodges Ph.D., associate cello professor, gave insight regarding the balancing act of keeping commitments and personal life in balance for the members of the quartet.
“They can be difficult, but for professional musicians this is what it is like in the real world,” Hodges said. “You have to be able to juggle your personal life, other professional commitments and the demands of a performing career. It can be tricky, but it is a good thing to learn how to manage in a safer environment like school.”
Recipients are required to perform specific duties within the community and to positively represent Boise State during the two years of the program.
The music department makes this opportunity more versatile for its scholarship recipients by partnering alongside the Boise Philharmonic.
By providing a platform to showcase their talent and promoting this marketable partnership with the Boise Philharmonic in the community, recipients are able to serve their personal goals as musicians.
“The quartet experience is incredibly valuable as you really get to work on your honing your craft with three other members of equal talent and drive,” Hodges said. “It can be challenging but healthy to work with the same people for such an extended and intensive time. They receive a lot of professional feedback, not only from the string faculty but from professional musicians in the area, such as Robert Franz, the conductor of the Boise Philharmonic.”
Member of last program’s quartet, Alvin Tran, played second violin throughout his time with the group.
“There are two great benefits to this program.The first is the quartet itself,” Tran said. “Coming into the program, I had no idea who the other three members were going to be. Luckily, things worked out really well for us. Musically speaking, we have been able to blend our sound—a big component of string quartet playing.”
In providing a medium for musicians to express their talents and work the scholarship offers an extensive chance to develop and further refine their skills. Not only as musicians, but as individuals as well.
Auditions will be held on three different dates Feb. 1, Feb. 22 and March 2.