With a focus on enhancing ensemble playing, musical artistry and technical mastery, the MM in Chamber Music offers pre-formed string quartets the opportunity for intensive study of some of the greatest music ever written. Graduate assistantships are available for two string quartets with eight assistantships awarded for the two year program. 

The String Quartet Program offers mentorship by members of the critically acclaimed Miami String Quartet, Verve Chamber Players and The Cleveland Orchestra. Several of our groups have gone on to form their own residencies at Universities in Indiana, California, New York and New Mexico. 

A Renowned Faculty

Dedicated to teaching and performing, our faculty brings a wide range of experience to our students. Educated at institutions such as Juilliard, the Curtis Institute of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music, they have established prolific careers in solo, orchestral and chamber music performance. Because of this, they can provide training to prepare students for further study, competitions and careers in performance. 

Amy Lee, violin – Holding degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, she joined The Cleveland Orchestra as Associate Concertmaster in 2008. She is a member of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival faculty and a dedicated chamber musician performing as a member of the Omni String Quaretet and Ensemble HD. Throughout the summer she also appears at several music festivals, including Marlboro Music Festival. 

Cathy Robinson, violin – A founding member of the award-winning Miami String Quartet, she holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory where studied with pedagoges Ivan Galamian, David Cerone and Isadore Tinkleman. In addition to a busy performance schedule, she is a dedicated teacher both at Kent State University and the Kent/Blossom Music Festival.

Joanna Patterson Zakany, viola – A member of The Cleveland Orchestra's viola section since 2006, Joanna is an active teacher and chamber musician having earned her undergraduate degree at CIM studying with Robert Vernon. Currently, she performs in the Omni Quartet and Ensemble HD with her colleague in The Cleveland Orchestra and at Kent State Amy Lee. 

Keith Robinson, cello – Critically acclaimed, he is a founding member of the Miami String Quartet and regularly performs at the Santa Fe Music Festival, Music @ Menlo, Kent/Blossom Music Festival and more. He is a dedicated teacher and has conducted masterclasses around the country, including the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center.

Classes and Courses

This two-year graduate degree offers students many opportunities to expand their musical skills and knowledge. From weekly chamber music coaching to individual private lessons, students explore all aspects of music-making.  Courses in history and music theory add depth to musical interpretation and understanding.


From orchestral to chamber music to solo, students have numerous opportunities to test the skills and repertoire they have been working on.

In addition to the regular required recitals, quartets enrolled in this program have opportunities for additional performances both on and off campus. Recent engagements include concerts on the Music from the Western Reserve series, Friends of Chamber of Music series in Akron and at the Aurora School of Music, among others.

Training in orchestral performance is an integral part of study at Kent State University. The Kent State University Orchestra performs a five to eight concert subscription series a year. Its repertoire is diverse, spanning from the Classical era to the 21st Century. The orchestra also performs with the KSU Opera every other year in fully staged productions and the Kent State Choirs every year. For more information about the orchestra program, please visit their page here.

Quartets in this program often also participate in the Kent/Blossom Music Festival, one of the most distinguished chamber music festivals in the country. In partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra, the festival offers intensive study of chamber music, solo and orchestral repertoire with a highly distinguished faculty.

Alumni can be heard around the country, including in these ensembles

  • Euclid Quartet, now in residence at IU-South Bend
  • Hausmann Quartet, now in residence at UC San Diego
  • Hyperion Quartet, now in residence at College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY)
  • La Catrina Quartet, now in residence at Eastern New Mexico State University
  • Telegraph Quartet, now based in San Francisco


For more information about degrees and faculty, please contact Professor Keith Robinson, cello and area coordinator, at 330.672.5826 or by email at krobins2@kent.edu.