Summer Fellowship and Competition Opportunities

The Danbury Music Centre is committed to providing opportunities to its members and program participants. Last year, we launched the Summer String Fellows program, the CMI Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition, and the CMI Piano Competition. The Charles Ives Concert Series  Read about some of these summer opportunities below.

2019 Summer String Fellowship

For the first time in 2018, the Danbury Music Centre offered two string players fellowships to both the Summer Strings program and the Chamber Music Intensive. This new program recognizes both a passion for high quality chamber music performance, as well as teaching. Summer String Quartet Fellows will participate in both DMC Summer Strings as program mentors and CMI as participants. Fellows also perform seminal works on the Summer Strings Concert and on an Ives Series concert.

Application Process:

Those interested in participating must apply to CMI and check yes when asked if they are applying to the Summer String Fellowship. Click here to apply!

• Upon a successful audition to CMI, fellowship applicants will be invited to interview with Barbara Adams Jaeger, Executive Director, Larry Deming, Summer Strings Director,  and Paul Frucht, CMI Artistic Director.

• Applicants should be prepared to discuss their backgrounds, why they have an interest in the program, why they believe they would be a good fit for the program, etc., at both their CMI audition and the live interview. Please bring your instrument to the interview as well.

Program Details and Responsibilities of Fellows: During Summer Strings, fellows will receive a full-tuition fellowship and:

• Lead sectional rehearsals and assist program participants

• Act as concert mentors during the full string orchestra rehearsals and final concert

• Perform a seminal string quartet work from the repertoire on the final concert During CMI, fellows will receive a full-tuition fellowship and:

•Perform as a quartet on the Charles Ives Concert Series

• Perform as a group with an artist-faculty member for one of their chamber groups • Assist Artist-Faculty in preparation and set up for various CMI activities

• Receive additional chamber music coaching from Artist-Faculty and Guest Artists

Fellows are also expected to attend 2-3 training sessions before Summer Strings

2019’s Summer String Fellows:

Juliana Chetcuti, violin

Juliana Chetcuti is a young violinist living in Danbury Connecticut. Recently, she has been a featured soloist in the Danbury Community Orchestra performing the Bruch Violin Concerto with conductor Stephen Michael Smith. Her playing was also recognized by the Connecticut Music Educators Association with invitations to perform in both the Western Regional and All State Orchestras. She has participated in the Chamber Music Intensive for five years now, through which she has had the opportunity to play in the Charles Ives Concert Series, performing alongside the Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal Harpist as well as playing Dvorak’s American Quartet. Additionally, she participated in principal trombonist of the New York Philharmonic Joseph Alessi’s conducting debut in the summer of 2018. She plays in both the Danbury Community and Symphony Orchestras which put on several concerts a year, including the Nutcracker and Messiah. Furthermore, she played in the Danbury High School Marching Band and Jazz band on the alto saxophone for two years, has played as a guest musician in the bluegrass band “Gold Rush” and plays in weddings covering everything from pop songs to classical repertoire to jazz combo classics. She has studied with her teacher Alison Corigliano since 2008 and will be studying with Hafez Taghavi at Western Connecticut State University to major in Music Education.


Lauren Tsai, violin

Lauren Tsai, from Ridgefield, CT, is a rising senior at Ridgefield High School. As a violinist, she participates in her high school’s symphony and chamber orchestras, a group called “Rockestra,” the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, and a trio she and her friends started. In addition, she has played in Connecticut’s 2017, 2018 and 2019 Western Region Festivals as well as its 2018 All State Festival. She also won the 2018 Chamber Music Intensive Concerto Competition. Lauren currently studies violin under the guidance of Lori Abbott. 


2019 CMI Piano Competition

Lorelai Lee Swanek will perform selections from Maurice Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) alongside Ives Series Artist-Faculty Mika Sasaki on the August 4th Ives Series Concert: Greatest Hits!

2019 CMI Piano Competition Winner:

Lorelai Lee Swanek, piano

Lorelai Lee Swanek, a sophomore at Canterbury School, began her piano studies at age 4.   Highlights of her piano awards include 1st prize in the international Little Mozarts Competition, 3rd prize in the  American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, 1st prize in the Schubert Club of Fairfield County’s Bach Competition, 2nd prize in the Schubert Club French Music Competition, and 3rd prize in the JUMY Competition. She placed in the top three at the Hartford Music Teacher Association’s,  Audrey Thayer Competition for four years. In addition, Lorelai earned the Royal Conservatory’s Gold Medal for achieving the highest score on the piano exam in the country, as well as the State Certificate of Excellence Award three times.

This year she was invited to play in the Associated Music Teacher’s League Honors Concert in New York City and was also one of the winners of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Music Teachers’ competition, leading to her sixth a performance at Carnegie Hall.  In 2016 and 2017, she was awarded a merit scholarship to attend CMI. Lorelai plays first violin in the Canterbury orchestra, piano in the chamber ensemble and is captain of the cross-country team. 



2019 CMI Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition

All accepted string, wind, brass, harp and percussion CMI participants are invited to audition to perform a movement of a work for their instrument and string/chamber orchestra on the Charles Ives Concert Series.

Competition Date: Sunday, June 23rd at 12 PM at the Danbury Music Centre

June 10th – deadline to sign up for the competition.

2019 CMI Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition Winners:

The two winners, Dylan Costa and Emma Dawson will perform Popper’s Hungarian Dances and the first movement of Stamitz’s Viola Concerto, respectively, on the August 7th Ives Series Concert: Electric Youth V.

Dylan Costa, cello

Dylan Costa is an emerging classical musician from Danbury, CT. Dylan has been complemented by his teachers for having a “driving work ethic” and “really feeling the music”. Entering his third year at Ithaca College under the tutelage of Heidi Hoffman, Dylan has performed with the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Western Connecticut State University Orchestra, and numerous other orchestras through the Northeast. On top of Orchestral experience, Dylan has been involved with chamber music, performing with String Quartets throughout his high school and college career as well as participating in Chamber music programs such as Chamber Music Intensive, Wintergreen Music Festival, and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. As a soloist, Dylan has become a finalist in the Danbury Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition with his concerto debut being at age 15 performing the Lalo Cello Concerto. Outside of music, Dylan enjoys watching Netflix, swimming, and just spending time with friends and family.

Emma Dawson, viola

Emma Dawson began to play viola at the age of 9.  Her love for the instrument and classical music quickly grew after she started taking lessons from Sue Corey-Sahlin.  Emma has been an active participant in her middle school’s symphonic and chamber orchestra. She also plays in Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, first in the String Ensemble and now in the Symphony Orchestra.  During the summer, Emma continues to advance her skills by playing in various summer camps, including the Fairfield County Summer Strings Orchestra, the summer strings program at the Danbury Music Center, and Chamber Music Intensive. 

In addition to viola, Emma also plays piano.  She started playing piano when she was 7 years old and has been taking lessons from Margarita Nuller.  Emma has been playing in various festivals. CMI has given her a chance to improve her piano skills in both chamber groups and as a soloist. 

 Outside school, Emma enjoys baking, reading, hiking, skiing, and spending time with her dog, Sadie. 

A rising 9th grader, Emma will be attending Ridgefield High School in the fall.  She looks forward to continuing playing music in high school and further into the future. 

2019 Charles Ives Concert Series Call for Scores Winner

The Charles Ives Concert Series is a program at the DMC directed by Paul Frucht which celebrates Danbury’s legend, Charles Ives, through performances of his music, today’s American music, and music that transcends the traditional boundaries of classical music. Each year, the Ives Series issues a world-wide call for scores of which one is selected for performance by Ives Series artists on one of the Ives Series concerts. The DMC received over 100 submissions to this year’s call, all of which were judged by Paul Frucht, Series associate artistic director, Jonathan Cziner and 2019 composer-in-residence, Robert Paterson. This adjudication process resulted in the selection of Hannah Lipton’s Wildflower for string quartet, which will be performed on the August 8th Ives Series concert: Celestial Mechanics.

2019 Finalists:

  • Will Healy, Future Caprices 
  • Courtney Evans, The Rat in the Wiring
  • Paul Novak, marking punctuations; 
  • Angela Slater, Eye o da Hurricane; and 
  • Joshua Hey, lens flare from Alpha Centauriali

Hannah Lipton, composer 

Hannah Lipton began her musical studies at 5 years old with lessons in classical piano in her hometown of Croton-on-Hudson, New York. She eventually developed an interest in composition as a high school student and began composing pieces for solo piano with no professional instruction. She eventually went on to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in music at Skidmore College, where she continued to study composition independently. Hannah also took courses in French, modern dance, ballet, political philosophy and English and played keyboard in a rock band. After graduating from Skidmore College, she pursued private instruction with
composers Evan Fein and Justin Dello Joio. Summer festivals attended include California Summer Music, Brevard Music Center, HighSCORE Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Mostly Modern Festival and Vienna Summer Music Festival.

She is now earning a master’s degree in composition at The University of Southern California in Los Angeles where she studies with Donald Crockett. She plays keyboard and sings in an indie band alongside her studies. In addition to music, Hannah enjoys hobbies such as drawing, fashion, yoga and dance.