PSQ's Letter
November 2022

Hello Friends! And welcome to the first edition of the Portland String Quartet Society’s online newsletter: the PSQ’s Letter.

We’ll take you behind the scenes, and let you know more about the musicians, the music, and our future plans.

We welcome stories and photos from you as well. Do you remember some incident during a concert? a cruise? a workshop? Just send text and photos to the address below and we’ll include as many as space allows.

What would you like to know? We’ll try to answer your questions in future editions.
Musician Spotlight
Brianna Fischler, Viola
The newest member of the Portland String Quartet is violist Brianna Fischler who joined the PSQ this year. Brianna is also a violist in the renowned chamber music ensemble
Palaver Strings, where she serves as Education Coordinator and is certified in Early Childhood Music Learning Theory and the Suzuki Method.
Early Childhood Music
Brianna tells us that Palaver Strings started early-childhood music and pre-K strings programs in 2018 based on pilot work done in Boston. Classes are held weekly during the school year for children through age four at five childcare organizations in Portland: Youth and Family Outreach and The Opportunity Alliance Head Start Program.
Each class includes songs, chants, call-and-response games, one on one interaction, and tactile activities using scarves, beanbags, shakers, and parachutes. Children and an accompanying adult participate in group activities – learning language and social skills in the bargain.

(Photos by "Feels Like Media")
Lullaby Project
Palaver Strings also initiated the Lullaby Project at Maine Medical Center in Portland which reaches pregnant people, new parents, and professional musicians. Working with professional songwriters and engineers, participants write and record original lullabies for their children.

The Lullaby Project, begun by Carnegie Hall, has three stages: reflection and brainstorming, songwriting, and recording. Every participant can record and perform original songs. The goal of the project is to support families in difficult circumstances and strengthen child/parent bonds. It also aims to enlist the cultural backgrounds and musical tastes of the participants. 

After School Strings
Now in its 4th year, “After-School Strings” provides group classes and private individual lessons in the Portland area. Each student is given a violin, viola, or cello suitable for small hands. Instruments can be used for practice at home year-round. Tuition is on a pay-what-you-can basis with a sliding scale. Financial aid is also available. 

Classes are based on Music Learning Theory, a methodology developed by Edwin Gordon who believed that children learn music best through informal exploratory experiences, just as they learn language.

Classes are currently held for kindergarteners through 3rd grade with plans to add classes for older students through high school. Students focus on learning the fundamentals of string instruments, how to play in small groups, and basic music reading. At the end of the school year, participants share what they have learned at a recital in May.

Brianna comes from a musical family in which her twin sister and twin brothers all play string instruments. Now we are excited to welcome her into the PSQ family!

Upcoming Concerts
Join Brianna at some of these upcoming performances!
Dec. 4 | PSQ Concert II
William Grant Still - Danzas de Panama
Lucien Durosoir - String Qt. No. 2
Mozart Clarinet Quintet

Portland Conservatory of Music
28 Neal St., Portland, 04102

Dec. 21 | PSQ Solstice Concert
The renowned Portland String Quartet will offer this free concert, to thank Portland and Maine for over a half century of support. Doors open at 5 p.m. Seating is limited.

Mechanics Hall
519 Congress St., Portland, 04101

Free Concert | More Info

Portland String Quartet Society
(207) 761-1522
PO Box 11, Portland, ME 04112