Local Arts Supporters Create New Graduate String Quartet in Colorado State’s Music Department

The Department of Music in Colorado State University’s School of the Arts recently received a gift from local arts supports to create a Graduate String Quartet Program within the school and to recruit gifted piano students.

Jim and Wendy Franzen are longtime supporters of Colorado State and the arts community in Fort Collins, and with their recent retirement, they are sharing more of their time and resources to promote the arts.

The Franzens donated $40,000 to establish the Graduate String Quartet Program in which fellows will study under the university’s Department of Music string faculty.

Students will have the opportunity to take master classes and seminars from visiting guest artists as part of a curriculum that develops strong artistic and business-related skills required for a successful quartet career. Fellows will hold principal positions in Colorado State University’s Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, and the quartet will serve as a teaching and recruiting instrument for regional high school string musicians.

"The establishment of the Graduate String Quartet will attract talented students to Colorado State and advance our reputation as an outstanding music program," said Michael Thaut, chair of the Department of Music, director of Colorado State’s Center for Biomedical Research in Music and co-executive director of the School of the Arts.

The quartet has the potential to benefit the broader local community as well. The Franzens foresee that the Graduate String Quartet could be a cornerstone of the new UniverCity project that links the Poudre River corridor, the city of Fort Collins and Colorado State.

"This particular instrumentation is ideal for collaboration and outreach in our community. String quartets have a well established and remarkably rich repertoire. They are a manageable size for remote concerts, yet they provide musically robust and complex performances," said Jim Franzen.

With an additional donation of $10,000, the Franzens also are supporting efforts to recruit gifted music students to the department’s piano studies area. Their interest stems from their newly rebuilt 1916 Steinway B piano. The couple has created a performance space in their home to be available for local musicians and for them to host fundraising events for the university and local nonprofit organizations.

For more information on the Colorado State University School of the Arts and the Department of Music, visit www.CSUSchooloftheArts.com.