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BM Music Performance - String Emphasis

The String Program at USU is lead by the members of the Fry Street Quartet and bassist Braun Khan.

The Fry Street Quartet occupies the Manon Caine Russell and Dan C. Russell Endowed String Quartet Residency at Utah State University. This residency affords string majors the rare opportunity to study with a world-renowned string quartet as their primary professors.

Dr. Khan has performed to equalt acclaim in both the jazz and classical worlds, and runs a dynamic bass studio at USU.

The size of the String Program at Utah State allows for each student to receive a great deal of individual attention throughout his or her study. With chamber music as a natural focus of a program led by a string quartet, a close-knit atmosphere is at the heart of the student experience, and the shared artistic and educational values of the FSQ are central to this experience.

Competition winners and finalists, summer study at home and abroad, and continuing studies in prestigious graduate programs across the country are common among the ambitious students of the String Program at the Caine College of the Arts.


Bradley Ottesen
Professional Practice Associate Professor
Viola, Chamber Music
Fry Street Quartet ~ Viola
String Program Coordinator

Robert Waters
Professional Practice Associate Professor
Violin, Chamber Music
Fry Street Quartet ~ Violin

Rebecca McFaul
Professional Practice Associate Professor
Violin, Chamber Music
Fry Street Quartet ~ Violin

Anne Francis Bayless
Professional Practice Associate Professor
Cello, Chamber Music
Fry Street Quartet ~ Cello

Braun Khan
Professional Practice Assistant Professor
Bass, Jazz Studies

Bela Bartok, Divertimento for String Orchestra, Sz. 113. Performed by students of the USU String Program, the String Faculty, and guest conductor Nicholas Kraemer.

Video created by Andy Lorimer

Video Credits

Guest Artists and their affiliations in order of appearance:

  • Nicholas Kraemer - Internationally renowned conductor
  • Germán Augusto Gutierrez - conductor, Texas Christian University
  • Marilyn McDonald, violin – Oberlin Conservatory
  • James Dunham, viola – New England Conservatory
  • DaXun Zhang, bass - Tianjin Juilliard School
  • Heather Johnson, voice – Metropolitan Opera
  • Roger Chase, viola – Trinity Laban Conservatoire (London, UK)
  • Paul Katz, cello – New England Conservatory
  • Gabriela Lena Frank, composer – Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music
  • Peter Slowik, viola – Oberlin Conservatory
  • Amit Peled, cello – Peabody Conservatory
  • Nathan Cole, violin – Associate Concertmaster, Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Corbin Johnston, bass - Associate Principal, Utah Symphony
  • USU String Faculty: Fry Street Quartet, String Quartet-in-Residence
    Robert Waters, violin Rebecca McFaul, violin Bradley Ottesen, viola Anne Francis-Bayless, cello Dr. Braun Khan, Professional Practice Assistant Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies
Paul Katz giving a masterclass

Private individual instruction with the members of the FSQ involves rigorous, technical training on the instrument combined with a profound exploration of each student’s authentic inner musical voice. Students have many opportunities to perform as they study, including weekly studio classes, recitals, chamber ensemble concerts, and juries.

Chamber Music is at the center of the string program at USU - a natural outgrowth of the Fry Street Quartet residency, strengthened by our relationship with the Chamber Music Society of Logan. Each semester there are numerous master class opportunities with the guests of the Chamber Music Society of Logan, as well as a culminating performance in the Caine Performance Hall.

Special events include performances and master classes lead by first-class guest artists from around the world. Recent guests have included the Emerson, Jerusalem, and Brentano quartets, cellists Paul Katz (NEC) and Peter Wispelwey (international soloist), violists James Dunham (Rice University) and Roger Chase (international soloist and pedagogue), as well as violinist Kathryn Eberle (Associate Concertmaster of the Utah Symphony).

4-year Degree Map

View the degree map online in the University Catalog

Additional Class and Ensemble Performance Opportunities

  • Performance Practice Institute - Academic and performance study of music from the Baroque era
  • Orchestral Audition Seminar - Group-class exploration of the world of orchestral auditions, taught by esteemed members of the Utah Symphony
  • Caine Quartet - A special opportunity for an advanced, upper-class string quartet to work and coach intensely with the FSQ, with multiple performance, travel, and outreach opportunities. Additional scholarship is awarded to those chosen by the FSQ to participate.
  • Side-by-side Performances with the Fry Street Quartet - Special opportunities arise for students to perform in concert with the FSQ.

Opportunities for Non-majors

Music Therapy majors, Music minors, and other interested students are welcome to register for private lessons by contacting Dr. Mark Emile, and to audition for the USU Symphony Orchestra.

Learn More About the String Program

If you are curious to know more and would like to speak with a member of our faculty, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Trial lessons are available to those who make arrangements in advance to visit the Logan campus.

In addition to applying for admission to the University, all applicants interested in pursuing a music degree must perform an audition on their major instrument to gain admission into the Department of Music. View specific audition information.

Chamber Music at USU is an immersive experience that lies at the heart of the string program. The focused and sustained study of chamber music builds a vital array of musical and personal skills, and allows the student to develop individual artistry while collaborating intensively with their colleagues and friends. Student groups are mentored by the Fry Street Quartet, and perform at the end of each semester in the world-class Caine Performance Hall. Students also receive regular master classes from visiting artists, which have included the Emerson Quartet, Paul Katz and James Dunham, and members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

The Caine Quartet provides a special opportunity for an advanced, upper-class string quartet to work and coach intensely with the FSQ, alongside multiple performance, travel, and outreach opportunities. Additional scholarship is awarded to those chosen by the FSQ to participate. Each iteration of the Caine Quartet has a customized experience based on their interests and strengths. Groups all have an outreach component to their work which has included classroom visits for all ages and launching a series of concerts in unusual spaces. Other projects have focused on new music such as the 2019-20 Caine Quartet’s project to commission, create, and produce an original chamber opera entitled A Storm We Call Progress. The 2020-21 Caine Quartet is commissioning and premiering a new string quartet by composer Kerwin Young.

Personal Statements from CURQ Members

“Performing with the Caine Undergraduate Research Quartet has been a truly spectacular experience. It has provided me with opportunities that are rarely found even among conservatory music programs. This unique project has given me skills which will carry through to my future in music, as well as to any other area of my life which involves working closely with others to achieve unified and often demanding goals.” ~ Gavon Peck (’16), violist

“Participating in the first Caine Undergraduate Research Quartet has been a rewarding experience that has accelerated my development as a musician, performer and professional.” ~Stephen Mitton (’15), cellist

The Performance Practice Institute began in 2012 as a student-based initiative. Its original goal was to explore and perform music specific to the Baroque era. The group’s early success inspired several faculty in the music department to broaden and amplify this effort, including Dr. Christopher Scheer (PPI’s current director) as well as FSQ members Robert Waters, Rebecca McFaul, and Bradley Ottesen. Under the direction of the above faculty, and with additional assistance from Dean Jessop, Associate Professor Cory Evans, and others, PPI has now become a part of the curriculum, which incorporates the study of a large work (or collection of smaller works) from the Baroque era. The culmination of this effort is a public performance of said work(s) by a combination of students, faculty, and guest artists.

Performance Practice Institute Program Themes

  • Student-based initiative culminating in a concert at St. John's Episcopal Church
  • Bach's Mass in B Minor under the direction of Dr. Craig Jessop
  • Music of the North German Baroque
  • The Career of William Byrd: Catholic Recusancy in Tudor England
  • Francesca Caccini's "La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina," a puppet opera of 1625
  • Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” with guest conductor Nicholas Kraemer

USU Symphony Orchestra (available to non-majors by audition)

Cache Symphony Orchestra (available to non-majors)

String Student Accomplishments At a Glance


In recent years, our students have won prizes in the national MTNA and ASTA competitions (solo and chamber music categories), the Lion’s Club International Violin Competition, and the T. Gordon Parks Collegiate Concerto Competition.

Summer Festival Study

Our students have studied at premiere summer festivals around the world, including the Aldeburgh Festival, the Aspen Music Festival and School, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget International Music Festival, Madeline Island Music Camp, The Meadowmount School of Music, the Montecito International Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, and Pergine Spettacolo Aperto, Pergine Valsugana, Italy.

Scholarship and Initiative

String students consistently show excellence and creativity in their studies, and have been named Undergraduate Research Fellows, Undergraduate Teaching Fellows, and Undergraduate Writing Fellows, as well as Utah Regents Scholars and A-Pin winners. Student-created initiatives include the New Music Collaborative and the Performance Practice Institute, and our Caine Undergraduate Research Fellowship Quartet offers exciting professional development opportunities for our most advanced chamber musicians.

Graduate Study

Graduates of our program have gone on to prestigious graduate and doctoral programs around the country and internationally, including Arizona State University, Boston University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Northwestern University, the Royal Conservatory of Scotland, The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Professional Work

Our graduates run successful private teaching studios and direct school music programs around the country, and regularly perform in orchestras that include the Boise Philharmonic, the Boulder Philharmonic, the Cheyenne Symphony, the Fort Collins Symphony, the Utah Festival Opera Orchestra, and the Wyoming Symphony. In addition, they have been active in studio recordings for LA East/Warner Brothers, Platinum Lab, Rosewood, and LDS Motion Picture Studios.

Violin Concerto in a minor, I. Moderato and II. Andante sostenuto by Alexander Glazunov, performed by Amanda Marshall, B.M. 2016, accompanied by the USU Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Sergio Bernal.

Bartok Quartet No. 2, 2nd movement, performed by the Fry Street Quartet

Brahms: Quartet no. 1 in c minor, OP.51/1II. Romanze, performed by the Fry Street Quartet