Music Mountain Academy

August 10-23, 2020


Open to Pre-Formed Ensembles, Individual Strings, Clarinet and Piano

Ages 16-30

Be Yourself, Be Inspired!


Designed for You

Taking place in August, right before the beginning of the semester, the Music Mountain Academy is designed for you to start the year at your best!


Nick Gordon and Polo

2018 Academy master class by Paul Katz


Scholarship Opportunities

Outstanding Faculty – You Perform in Gordon Hall – Special focus on Beethoven – Experience a mountaintop campus built in 1930 for the Gordon String Quartet!


"I was inspired by your performances and it was great to have the opportunity to be coached... I definitely felt I got a lot out of working with both my groups and grew as a musician even in just the one week."


—Jonathan Fenwick, 2018



April 24, 2020 (no application fee)

Late Application deadline: May 15, 2020


For more info, please write to:

All questions welcome.



Oskar Espina-Ruiz and Muneko Otani, Program Directors


Paul Katz

Paul Katz

Cello, Cleveland Quartet; NEC Professional String Quartet Training Program Faculty


Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Pei-Shan Lee

NEC Piano Faculty, NEC Sonata Night Director


Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Muneko Otani

First Violin, Cassatt String Quartet; Columbia University and Williams College Faculty


Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Ah Ling Neu

Viola, Cassatt String Quartet, former Ridge String Quartet; Columbia University and Williams College Faculty


Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Maria Lambros

Viola, Meliora, Ridge and Mendelssohn String Quartets; Peabody Institute Faculty


Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Elizabeth Anderson

Cello, Cassatt String Quartet, former Meliora String Quartet; former UNCG Faculty


Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Michael Kannen

Cello, Brentano String Quartet, Apollo Piano Trio; Director of Chamber Music, Peabody Institute


Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Clarinet Faculty, University of North Carolina School of the Arts; Artistic Director, Music Mountain Festival





Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Ulysses Quartet

Christina Bouey, Violin; Rhiannon Banerdt, Violin; Colin Brookes,Viola; Grace Ho, Cello


Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Paul Frucht




Explore the Area!

Music Mountain is in Falls Village, in northwestern Connecticut, in the beautiful and serene foothills of the Berkshires. Music Mountain is America’s longest running chamber music festival. Since 1937, Music Mountain concerts have been broadcast throughout the United States and in 35 foreign countries, reaching over a million listeners each year.

Explore the Area





  • 2-Week Session for pre-formed ensembles (Aug 10-23, 2020): $1,300 per artist

  • 1-Week Session for pre-formed ensembles: 1st Week (Aug 10-17, 2020) $650 per artist; 2nd Week (Aug 17-23, 2020) $650 per artist

  • 1-Week Session for Strings, Clarinet and Piano (2nd Week only, from Aug 17-23, 2020): $800 per artist



Submit the online application form, including links to 2 unedited videos with your performance of two contrasting works or movements, one of which needs to be Classical/Romantic. While ensembles may submit a single application form, young artists applying individually are required to submit individual applications forms.



April 24, 2020 (no application fee)

Late Application deadline: May 15, 2020


For more info, please write to:

All questions welcome.





2-Week Session Pre-Formed Ensembles Check-in:
Monday, Aug 10, 2020, 12 noon.


1st Week Pre-Formed Ensembles Check-in:
Monday, Aug 10, 2020, 12 noon.


2nd Week Pre-Formed Ensembles Check-in:
Monday, Aug 17, 2020, 12 noon.


Individual Strings, Clarinet and Piano Check-in (2nd Week only):
Monday, Aug 17, 2020, 12 noon.



1st Week Pre-Formed Ensembles Check-out:
Sunday, Aug 16, 2020, 5 pm (or 12:30 pm)


All others' Check-out:
Sunday, Aug 23, 2020, 5 pm (or 12:30 pm)



Music Mountain Academy Young Artist Concerts:


Sunday, Aug 16, 11 am, Gordon Hall: Pre-Formed Ensembles of the Academy.


Sunday, Aug 23, 11 am, Gordon Hall: Young Artists of the Academy.



Faculty and Guest Artist Concerts*:


Sunday, Aug 16, 3 pm, Gordon Hall: Ulysses Quartet, with Maria Lambros, viola, and Michael Kannen, cello, perform Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, and works by Beethoven and Frucht.


Monday, Aug 17, 1:30 pm, Gordon Hall: Ulysses Quartet and composer Paul Frucht perform and talk about Paul Frucht’s Rhapsody for string quartet (2018).


Saturday, Aug 22, 11:30 am to 1 pm: Young Artists from the Academy perform at Music Mountain’s 3rd Annual Painting Music event.


Sunday, Aug 23, 3 pm, Gordon Hall: Cassatt String Quartet, with Paul Katz, cello, and Pei-Shan Lee, piano, perform works by Boccherini, Dohnanyi and Beethoven.


*Academy young artists and their parents get complimentary tickets to all Music Mountain Festival Concerts.


A typical day at the Music Mountain Academy:


7 am: Breakfast

8-11 am: Rehearsals and Practice

11 am: Free

12 noon: Lunch

1-5 pm: Coachings

5 pm: Free

6 pm: Dinner

7-9 pm: Performance Class



Broad Curriculum:


On top of warm-up sessions, individual practicing, rehearsals, coachings, concerts, and valuable time with mentoring faculty, fellow young artists and art students, all participate in:


• Performance Classes


• Topic Master Classes (Beethoven Quartets)


• Wellness for Performers: Movement, Relaxation and Practice Preparation


• Strategies for Community Connectivity Sessions


• Sight-Reading Parties


• Presentation by the Ulysses Quartet and composer Paul Frucht, including the performance of Frucht’s Rhapsody for string quartet (2018)


• Collaborations with visual arts at Music Mountain’s Third Annual Painting Music Community Event

Student Housing and Residence Life

Student housing is provided at the Colonial Revival-style homes originally built for the four members of the Gordon String Quartet. The First Fiddle House is the central space, where all students and faculty come together for meals, sight-reading sessions and informal evening performances.

The Viola, Cello and Second Fiddle Houses provide additional rehearsal space. Concerts and master classes take place at Gordon Hall, built in 1930 at the center of the 124-acre campus. Rehearsals and coachings take place at the various houses on campus. Individual practicing takes place at some of the same spaces.

Freund's Farm Market Catering provides all meals including plenty of locally harvested foods. The Music Mountain maintenance crew provides clean linens and towels. Those on campus 24/7 include the program manager that oversees students’ residence life, and the superintendent.



Pre-formed ensembles are welcome to suggest their repertoire. Individual young artists will receive their assigned repertoire via email several weeks before the start of the Academy. Some of the recent repertoire at the Academy included Haydn “Rider” Quartet, Beethoven “Serioso” Quartet, Prokofiev String Quartet No. 2, Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8, Ravel String Quartet, Brahms Clarinet Quintet, Debussy Piano Trio.



The nearest airport is Hartford Bradley (BDL), 1h 15 minutes away. The airports in NYC (JFK, LGA, EWR), are about 2.5 h away. There is a train connection from NYC to Wassaic, NY, by Metro North. We may be able to give you a ride if necessary. Please let us know weeks in advance. Check in (and lunch) is between 12-1 pm. A few weeks in advance we will email you a list of things to bring.

First Fiddle House living room.

Path to First Fiddle House.



Oskar Espina-Ruiz

Since 1930...


...generations of music lovers have come to Music Mountain for an exceptional music experience. Jacques Gordon, Music Mountain’s founder, was the Chicago Symphony concertmaster (1921-1930), founding first violinist of the Gordon String Quartet (1921-1948), and one of the most beloved violin teachers at Eastman School of Music from 1941 until his sudden passing in 1948, aged 49.


Music Mountain started out as a groundbreaking arts institution, where the Gordon String Quartet and world-class guest artists performed the music of living composers together with the old, and where young artists from around the country gathered for a rich summer chamber music experience. The Music Mountain inaugural season included works by Ravel and Turina when these were living composers, and string quartets by Shostakovich were often performed at Music Mountain soon after their composition.

The Music Mountain Academy brings forward the vision of its founder, Jacques Gordon, focusing on the richness of the Classics, while mentoring young artists and nurturing innovation in the arts.