Prelude to 50 Season
January 7th - 21st, 2022
Strings Attached Documentary
ON THE ROAD WITH THE DOVER QUARTET
-A documentary film by Bruce Broder
Four kids in music school with big dreams form a string quartet. Riding their enthusiasm, ambition and unbelievable talent, they rocket to international renown in the classical music world and become The Dover Quartet. In the documentary, Strings Attached, you are right there with them, on and off stage, as they meet and decide to throw in their lot together, as they explode onto the scene by sweeping the most prestigious international string quartet competition, and as they are suddenly circling the globe to meet the demand for their performances. You are with them too, as they try to deal with the cost to their personal lives. Will the endless days and nights on the road, the cheap hotels and the internal conflicts overwhelm their love of the music? Or will the music win?
On the Road with the Dover Quartet
feature film length
Strings Attached, a documentary, delves into the lives, on and off stage, of four superb musicians who give up the prospect of solo careers to form The Dover Quartet. From their start as students at the Curtis Institute of Music, the documentary tells the story of the acclaimed ensemble’s formation; their “practically meteoric” (Strings) rise to stardom, beginning with a stunning sweep of the prestigious Banff International Strong Quartet competition; and their personal and professional growing pains as they realize their dreams of becoming one of the world’s most in-demand string quartets.”
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Though I could barely carry a tune, I was always a music guy. I listened to the radio incessantly and had songs playing in my head every waking hour. I played in bands in high school and college. Then my son found his way into the music world and I became a music dad.
One of his closest friendships, starting at age 10, was with Milena, one of my subjects in Strings Attached. She and her family, the Pajaro van de Stadts, lived a few doors down from us. One night we were all together and Milena, age 12, got the idea to fill all the wine glasses with water to varying levels and then play tunes by rubbing the rims. Even then, the pitch was perfect, and she was able to take requests. That’s the year she also won the Jacksonville Symphony Concerto Competition, competing against musicians in their twenties.
I kept up with Milena’s career ever since, and when the Dover Quartet formed, I became close with Joel and Bryan and Camden as well. How do four musicians with such jaw-dropping individual talent find each other and how do they each decide to set aside solo careers for the group endeavor of a String Quartet? What’s it like struggling to break out of the pack of hundreds of string quartets graduating each year? How is one able to interact so intensely with the same bandmates day after day? Is it even possible to make a living at this? And maybe most intriguing to me, might the Dover Quartet make this centuries-old music form “cool” again in an era of streaming music of the moment? Can a young group like the Dover Quartet bring new audiences to classical music on the strength of the vitality of their playing?
The Dovers allowed me to travel with them for over a year because they thought those were good questions, ones that they, not coincidentally, were trying to work out for themselves.
— Bruce Broder
Bruce Broder is a documentary
filmmaker living in Washington
DC. His first film, Chops,
followed a Florida high school
jazz band’s quest to get to
New York and compete in the
highest-level jazz band competition in the country. Chops premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and was distributed by Virgil Films. It won Best Documentary at three Film Festivals and was selected for presentation by the International Documentary Association. In his review of the film, Baltimore Sun critic Michael Sragow wrote:
It's a tribute to Broder's powers of observation and empathy that when the kids, in simple language, explain what it means to swing as one, they do acquire a kind of bardic clout…the effect is overpowering.
Prior to filmmaking, Broder wrote, produced and directed commercials—taking a special interest in music tracks--for advertising agencies in Detroit, Baltimore and Jacksonville, FL. He also headed the creative departments of those agencies and was President of two of them.