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April 14, 2017

UMS in the Classroom: Emerson String Quartet and Calidore Quartet


Interested in using a UMS performance in your university classroom? For each performance on the season, we provide suggested curricular connections, links to contextual material online, citations for scholarly material, and prompts for classroom discussion. For additional resources and individualized curricular support, please contact Shannon Fitzsimons Moen, UMS Campus Engagement Specialist, at or (734) 764-3903.

UMS is also committed to making our performances an affordable part of the academic experience. Our Classroom Ticket Program provides $15 tickets to students and faculty for performances that are a course requirement. Please email to set up a group order.


This performance may connect meaningfully with courses in the following schools and disciplines:

  • Comparative Literature
  • Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Organizational Studies
  • Political Science
  • Composition
  • Music Education
  • Music Theory
  • Musicology
  • Strings
  • Business


  • The Emerson Quartet are one of the leading chamber ensembles in the United States. Learn more about the quartet on their official website.
  • In 2016, the Emerson Quartet celebrated its 40th anniversary. Learn more in this Strings magazine profile.
  • Learn about the Calidore String Quartet, winner of the inaugural M Prize at U-M, on the group’s official website.
  • Dive into Felix Mendelssohn’s first major compositional achievement, the Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20 in this article by Benedict Taylor.


  • A string quartet, or in this case two string quartets, rehearses and performs without a conductor—the members collectively decide upon an interpretation of the work. What do you think are the challenges and opportunities of that approach? What other groups can you think of that function similarly?
  • Chamber music was, originally, composed for performance in private homes. What kinds of music and/or listening experiences fulfill that role in contemporary life? How does classical chamber music function in contemporary life? How do you think that impacts audiences’ responses to the music?
  • The larger size of the string octet lends itself to a broader, orchestra-like sound while retaining the intimacy of a chamber music group. How do Mendelssohn and Bruckner, composers both known for their masterful orchestral writing, balance the larger forces of the octet with the character of a smaller ensemble?