Ying Quartet Brings Musical Perspective to Bowdoin Classes

When one of the world’s top chamber ensembles comes to Bowdoin, it’s not just music majors who have reason to get excited.

During the Ying Quartet’s two-and-a-half-day visit this past week, in between giving masterclasses and a riveting performance in Kanbar Auditorium, the group took part in five different Bowdoin classes spanning topics in history, literature, and culture as well as music. In each class the internationally renowned string musicians performed a selection of works chosen for their relationship with the course material (or in one case, works written by the students themselves) and engaged students in a lively discussion about the music.

The Ying Quartet with Jill Smith's class on German literature and culture

The Ying Quartet with Jill Smith’s class on German literature and culture (Photo: George Lopez)

In the full story, viewable here, professors Page Herrlinger, Belinda Kong, Mary Hunter, and Jill Smith describe how the quartet enriched their classes on Stalinism, Asian American literature, tonal analysis, and German literature and culture. Plus, students from Vineet Shende’s introductory composition class tell us what was like to have their very own pieces performed by the Yings (don’t miss the audio clip of a piece by Dylan Devenyi ’17).


  1. Howard Nannen says:

    We greatly enjoyed the Ying performance several days ago at Studzinski. The group seemed unusually energized by the lead violinist who was wonderful. We hope she has a long tenure with Ying. Ying family members seem to read each others’ minds in performance. Their timing and vigor of play never flagged, resulting in a sense of complete command of the most demanding music.

    We had the great pleasure a couple of years ago of attending a discussion at Bowdoin about themselves as performers and family. With a small group in the audience, Ying family members graciously took questions from students and others. We hope the relationship between Bowdoin and Ying continues. Thank you Bowdoin for the fine gift of music you offer our community. We can’t wait for the summer music students!

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