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Happy Holidays

Danielle BelenCenter Stage Strings 2017 is still resonating through the halls of the music school and throughout the town of Ann Arbor, which came out to support our fantastic students in over twenty performances, all free of charge to the community.

The prize-winning Calidore String Quartet spent five incredibly inspiring days with our students, performing side-by-side with them after intensive rehearsals and coaching. You could feel the electricity in the room. Our students could see their future selves in these hard-working and humble musicians, and it was nothing short of extraordinary to see them lift themselves to levels of expression in their playing even they didn’t realize they were capable of. We are thrilled to announce that Calidore will be returning this coming summer for an even longer residency!

As always, there was time for a little R&R and you could find our CSS students churning in their kayaks along the Huron River, running a three-legged race or poking fun at the faculty on Skit Night.

Thank you for your support of this fine group of young artists who choose to devote their lives to music. This summer we had students from cities in Oregon, California, Oklahoma, Missouri, New York, Canada, Venezuela and more join together to make great music and find their full potential.

CSS cellist Pedro Sanchez (our 2018 poster musician) is originally from Venezuela and studies at the University of Michigan, where he is an active member of the Ivalas Quartet. This dynamic young quartet formed at Center Stage Strings as scholarship recipients last summer and is “one to watch” as they head towards national competitions and other summer residencies this coming year. We are very proud of them and all of our incredible CSS alums! You can keep up to date with many of our student success stories on our Center Stage Strings Facebook page.

Please consider giving to our Center Stage Strings Scholarship Fund. This past summer we awarded over $70,000 in the necessary financial aid and scholarships to bring students to Ann Arbor, changing many lives and creating the artists of tomorrow. CSS is a non-profit organization committed to raising scholarships for gifted and deserving students.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued support.


Musically yours,
Danielle Belen
Artistic Director, Center Stage Strings
Associate Professor of Violin
School of Music, Theater, and Dance
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Scholarships for Students
Help us build our Scholarship Fund

We are proud to announce that this year was our strongest and most diverse applicant pool in our 8 year history of Center Stage Strings, outstanding in terms of level and enthusiasm. The applicants represented top students from across the country, as well as from South America and Asia.

Like any worthy venture, this comes with a price tag. Tuition for the institute is $4,300, which covers tuition, room and board. It is a competitive fee with other summer institutes of the same length, while offering more individual attention and performance opportunities.

Many of our CSS families simply cannot afford this fee, due to the financial demands of costly instruments, private lessons, and college audition tours, in addition to summer camp. We are well aware of these demands and never turn a deserving student away for financial reasons.

While some scholarship money is available through the MPulse Summer Institute, Center Stage Strings provides over $35,000 each summer to CSS Three Rivers Alumni, many of whom are from California.

Donations to our Scholarship Fund will make the difference for many of these deserving students to have a life-changing summer musical experience.

Center Stage Strings Summer Institute
June 17 - July 14

For detailed information, CLICK HERE.

CSS 2017 Festival & Camp Update
Festival in Three Rivers, California

Great music inspires, energizes and brings people together and that is what our performances in Three Rivers are centered around. Looking out at the audience and seeing the many faces of the crowd covered with enthusiasm, passion, curiosity and warmth is both comforting and invigorating to the artists on stage.

Over a span of just a few days in May, six musicians joined forces and performed masterpieces by Brahms and Beethoven juxtaposed with 20th century Swiss composer Frank Martin and even a premiere of a solo cello piece by Los Angeles based composer, George N. Gianopoulos, among many other works.

Center Stage Strings, which fondly remembers and celebrates Three Rivers as its original home, has an ever-present connection with our May Performance Festival. Student Alumni and Faculty from CSS are connected by their love for the Three Rivers community and playing music amongst the beautiful Sierras. This summer we invited Alum Adam Millstein, violin student at CSS in '11 and '12, to join us in Brahms Piano Quintet. Adam is finishing his performance degree at the University of Michigan, at the brink of beginning of his own professional career, and he blended right in with my colleagues.

We also continue the CSS tradition of providing educational opportunities for the public. We held an "open rehearsal", where the audience witnessed our behind-the-scene antics in a casual and candid setting. The small crowd had great questions and said they enjoyed it as much as the concert itself. My feeling was that we rehearsed even more effectively when we had a crowd to impress!

My colleagues Elbert Tsai, Jennie Jung, Lauren Chipman, Vardan Gasparyan and I had a fantastic time putting together the programs and seeing them come to life. I am humbled to have such talented and giving musicians as some of my closest friends, and to perform with them on stage for the audiences in Three Rivers is a total dream come true.

Please browse our website for information on the camp as well as concerts and master classes presented by world class guest artists.

View high quality videos from the CSS Music Camp and Festival on the Center Stage Strings YouTube Channel

We'd love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments. Please visit our Contact Page. We are also on Facebook so you can become a friend of Center Stage Strings today!

Center Stage Strings - In The News   Photos from the 2015 Summer Camp in Three Rivers

Center Stage Strings is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and your donations are 100% tax deductable. Your contributions will help make it possible for us to continue to provide this unique experience to deserving students. Donate Today.

For further information, please email