I am shocked by the firing of the DaPonte String Quartet (May 13).

A little history: In 1989 a 501c3 incorporated under the name Chamber Music South Bristol with the aim of bringing chamber music to the mid-coast.

In 1991 the DaPonte String Quartet formed. They played their first concert in Maine in 1992. In 1995 the quartet began a three-year residency in Maine, at the end of which they decided to make Maine their home.

In 1998 Chamber Music South Bristol decided to commit itself to supporting the DaPonte String Quartet’s performances and teaching and changed its name to the Friends of the DaPonte String Quartet (FDSQ).  Thanks to the generosity of the supporters and fans of the quartet, FDSQ honored this commitment until May of this year. In February, Erica Ball, newly appointed executive director of the FDSQ, sent an email to the quartet’s donors about plans for the quartet’s performances throughout the state and promised exciting news about the DaPonte Quartet’s 30th anniversary celebration to be announced in the spring.

Well, spring is here and the exciting news is that FDSQ is celebrating the quartet’s 30th anniversary by firing them, changing the name of the organization to Chamber Music Maine, and taking the money that the supporters of the quartet donated — money raised with the understanding that it support the quartet in its work — and proposing to use that money in ways that the donors did not intend.

I encourage everyone who loves chamber music and admires the DaPonte String Quartet to refuse to have anything to do with an organization called Chamber Music Maine or run by Tommy Davis or Erica Ball. With friends like those, one doesn’t need enemies.


David H. Shipman


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