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IU School of Music

Last modified: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

IU School of Music receives $345,000 grant for pre-college string academy

EDITORS: The Violin Virtuosi, the premier group of the IU String Academy, will perform a free public concert in the IU School of Music's Recital Hall on May 24 at 1 p.m.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University School of Music announced today (May 13) that it has received a three-year, $345,000 grant for the continuing development of the IU String Academy. The grant was awarded by the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation, whose mission is to support and nurture gifted violin students and to help them fully realize their potential.

The IU String Academy provides a training ground for children ages 5 to 18 who wish to study the violin, viola, cello and double bass through a curriculum that includes private and group lessons, theory and master classes, chamber music and performance opportunities. Mimi Zweig, IU professor of violin and viola, directs the String Academy. Since 1972, Zweig has developed children's string programs across the United States.

"We are very grateful to the Starling Foundation for honoring the String Academy and recognizing the value of music instruction in a child's early development," Zweig said. "It's our hope that whether a child develops into a professional musician or goes on to pursue another career, he or she will take with them a love and understanding of music developed over many years of study."

The premier group of the IU String Academy is the Violin Virtuosi, a collection of 20 violinists between the ages of 10 and 18 who perform both as soloists and as a violin ensemble. Many of the students have won local and national competitions and aspire to be professional violinists. In February 2002, the Virtuosi performed on the Public Radio International program, "From the Top," and last June, the group performed a benefit concert for the Harlem Center for Strings at Carnegie Recital Hall.

Eight members of the Violin Virtuosi have been invited to France for the first two weeks of June by the Conservatoires Nationale to perform concerts in Le Mans, Nantes, Cholet, La Roche, St. Nazaire and Paris. On May 24 at 1 p.m. in the IU School of Music's Recital Hall, the Virtuosi will perform its final concert before the students depart for France. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Houston-based Starling Foundation was created by Frank M. Starling in 1969 in memory of his wife, a professional violinist who performed as a soloist with many leading orchestras. In 1996, the foundation donated $1.5 million to the IU School of Music, which used the money to establish a chair in violin studies, the first fully-funded endowed chair at the school.

For more information on the IU String Academy and the Violin Virtuosi, contact Mimi Zweig at 812-855-8334 or