Intensive guidance from members of The Cleveland Orchestra, Miami String Quartet and the Verve Chamber Players results in a comprehensive program where students can achieve a high level of performance.

Solid technical training, artistic development and excellence in performance.

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 Boston University, 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.

Bryan Thomas, double bass – An active performer and teacher, Mr. Thomas received his BM in performance from Kent State University and has studied with Mark Atherton of The Cleveland Orchestra and Francois Rabbath, among others.

Classes and Courses

Offering four-year undergraduate and two-year graduate degrees, every student pursuing string study at Kent will leave having received the training they need to succeed. Lessons, studio classes, coaching and masterclass opportunities result in an intensive program designed to give students a well-rounded education covering all facets of performance. Music history and theory classes add depth and enhance understanding of the music studied.

Performance Opportunities

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

Required of all music majors and graduate students, recitals are a vital part of musical study. To prepare for this, students can perform in weekly studio classes, the Student Recital Series and the Performing Arts Library Open Mic days. 

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.

Coached by members of the Verve Chamber Players and the Miami String Quartet, chamber music is a vital part of string study at Kent State. From quartets to trios to duos, students will learn the skills necessary to work with other musicians in a more intimate setting. Students will also perform on and off campus. In addition to these chamber music opportunities, we offer a highly selective MM in Chamber Music for pre-formed string quartets.

Find out more about the MM in Chamber Music here!


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