INTERVIEW VC | Mark Clodfelter on the University of Delaware Graduate String Quartet Assistant Program


The violin chain recently discussed the new program with Marc Clodfelter, Acting Director of the Music School of University of Delaware.

The University of Delaware was founded in 1743 and offers 148 bachelor’s programs, 121 master’s programs, and 55 doctoral programs at its eight colleges. How does your music school fit into this great organization?

The University of Delaware School of Music resides in the College of Arts and Sciences. At first glance, one might think that one would get lost in such a vast and complex academic structure.

However, we are part of an arts portfolio within the college and have our own administrative oversight and advocate – Associate Dean for the Arts, Dr. Suzanne Burton. This organizational structure is working quite well and we feel great support for the arts throughout the University.

Tell us some interesting facts about life in the college town of Newark?

Newark is about 40 minutes south of Philadelphia, an hour north of Baltimore, and adjoins the nearby city of Wilmington. Newark enjoys a small town feel, but reap the rewards of easy access to major metropolitan areas and all the cultural richness that comes with it.

Main Street is full of dozens of restaurants as well as shops and social places. It is a remarkable place often characterized by the vitality of student life.

In your music school, you offer a variety of programs and degrees, from musicology to performance. Can you tell us about any programs specific to chamber music ensembles that you have recently added? Why do you think chamber music is becoming more and more important for the future of our industry?

The growing importance we place on chamber music reflects a recognition not only of the value of traditional literature, but also of changing professional perspectives and the emergence of new progressive forms of chamber music.

In an unstable economic climate, some large arts organizations are struggling to survive. It is more important than ever that students develop high-level collaborative skills, critical problem solving, self-diagnostic abilities, and an understanding of how their entrepreneurial ideas can be harnessed to develop a viable career.

In addition, we take a very broad and inclusive vision of chamber music. While we provide strong graduate funding for our brass quintet, wind quintet and string quartet, we recognize that chamber music exists in all genres, and we intend to incorporate a wider range. diverse from indigenous styles in our new Masters degree in Chamber Music.

Your university offers majors and minors in music. Do you think it can be beneficial for students in today’s world to hone in something totally different from music to broaden their expertise and work opportunities?

Without a doubt, yes. Today’s market offers very limited opportunities for a siled and strictly vertical skill set. The value of acquiring 21st century skills cannot be overstated. As a student in a creative discipline, a narrow view of creativity is not recommended. Instead, our students should be prepared to take their own place in the landscape. If we only prepare them for what was, we take away the opportunity to create what will be. This act of creation is their responsibility so that the arts continue to evolve.

Can you tell us more about your faculty? For you, what are the main qualities of an outstanding music teacher?

We are privileged to be surrounded by the bright and creative minds who make up our faculty. They are a constant source of inspiration for me as well as for our students. The attributes of a great faculty are consistent regardless of the discipline.

A great teacher understands that you can only judge the success of your teaching by the success of your students. They see through a student-centered lens, always looking for ways to uplift those they teach. They have the passion to challenge a student to go beyond their self-imposed limits, but they also possess the compassion to help a student come to terms with where they are on the path in a way that encourages them. and empower it.

Earlier this year, you appointed the renowned VC Artist Calidore Quartet to establish and lead the Graduate String Quartet Assistant Program. The Calidore subsequently selected the new quartet Abeo, which was recently a finalist at the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York City, as the first recipient of the two-year assistantship for the graduate string quartet. Tell us about this new program, and how will the two quartets work together?

The arrival of the Calidore Quartet, and thanks to their efforts, the Abeo Quartet, naturally invigorates the School of Music. The level of talent, artistry and energy they all bring makes an impact.

This Graduate String Quartet program has been developed as an elite offering, both in terms of funding and mentoring. The Calidore Quartet will work closely with the student quartet as part of their role within the School of Music. This type of focused individual attention is rare and the results will be transformative. Members of the student group will not only benefit from an artistic education, but they will also have a front row seat to learn all crucial aspects of the business. This program will be a catalyst, a chrysalis if you will. A group of students will enter, and a professional group will emerge.

What kind of ensemble would benefit the most from this specialized program?

The ideal ensemble is highly motivated, artistically mature, has a well-developed group work ethic, and aspires to greatness.

If students are interested in finding out more about the school, and especially applying to study with your Graduate String Quartet Assistant program, how can they go about it?

Anyone interested in learning more or applying should be in contact with the Calidore Quartet and visit our website to start applying to

You can also contact our admissions specialist, Ms. Adrienne Harding at [email protected]


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