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Early-Career Musician Residency

The Early-Career Musician Residency was inaugurated in 2014–2015 to continue and enhance a long tradition of music at Dumbarton Oaks. The main goal of the residency is to provide time and resources to young composers and musicians who show promise in transmitting traditions of classical music to younger generations. Proposals for residencies are by invitation only.


Robyn Bollinger

American violinist Robyn Bollinger is a young artist on the rise. Recently out of conservatory, Bollinger is building a career as a soloist and chamber musician. Already recognized for her creativity, rich tones, emotional depth, and technical mastery, she received a prestigious 2016 fellowship from the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship Fund for her multimedia performance project entitled “CIACCONA: The Bass of Time,” which she began touring in 2018. Bollinger made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut at age twelve, and has since performed with orchestras and at festivals nationwide, among them the Boston Pops, the Grand Tetons Music Festival Orchestra, and the music festivals of Aspen, Lake Champlain, Maui, Marlboro, and Rockport.

During her Early-Career Musician Residency, Bollinger is creating a new original multimedia recital entitled “Encore! Just One More . . .” Lighthearted and thought-provoking, it tells the story of that most indulgent musical tradition, exploring the legends, controversies, emotions, and practices of encores throughout history.

Viet Cuong

Called “alluring” and “wildly inventive” by the New York Times, Viet Cuong’s music has been performed on six continents by ensembles including Sō Percussion, Eighth Blackbird, Alarm Will Sound, Sandbox Percussion, the PRISM Quartet, JACK Quartet, Minnesota Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, and Albany Symphony, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and Library of Congress, among many others. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Peabody Conservatory, he is currently finishing his PhD at Princeton University.

Through his music Viet enjoys exploring the unexpected and whimsical, and his recent works include a solo snare drum piece, a double reed quintet, and, most recently, a tuba concerto. His upcoming projects include a double oboe concerto for the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, as well as a new work for Sandbox Percussion that will be premiered at Dumbarton Oaks in March.


Celil Refik Kaya

Since his concert debut at the age of 6, Celil Refik Kaya has performed in many concert halls and festivals around the United States and Turkey, and has received many accolades, including as the youngest winner of the 2012 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition. In 2017 he was awarded “Rising Young Musician of the Year” by the Donizetti Classical Music Awards in Istanbul. Mr. Kaya has recorded four albums with Naxos Records, including, during his residency, two of Agustin Barrios Mangore.

Besides a concert soloist, Kaya is also a composer. During his residency at Dumbarton Oaks, he composed a string quartet and a quintet for guitar and strings. He also composed several chamber music works that include unique Turkish instruments such as the rebab, a solo violin suite featuring Turkish makams and rhythms, as well as concert études for the oud. Some of these works will be performed in 2019 at Dumbarton Oaks.


Matthew Aucoin

Matthew Aucoin is an American composer, conductor, writer, and pianist, and was the 2015–2016 Early-Career Musician in Residence at Dumbarton Oaks. He is a 2012 graduate of Harvard College, where he studied with the poet Jorie Graham, and a 2013 graduate of the Juilliard School, where he studied with composer Robert Beaser. Shortly before he graduated from Harvard, Aucoin was hired as the youngest assistant conductor in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, where he worked with Thomas Adès, James Levine, and Valery Gergiev.

From 2013 to 2015, Aucoin was the Solti Conducting Apprentice at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he studied with Riccardo Muti. In the 2014–15 season, Aucoin conducted the premieres of two of his operas. In October 2016, pianist Conor Hanick and the Alabama Symphony performed Aucoin’s first piano concerto, commissioned by the Gilmore Foundation. Aucoin conducted the premiere of his orchestral work Evidence, commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Last season, his song cycle Merrill Songs (set to texts by James Merrill) was premiered by tenor Paul Appleby at Carnegie Hall, which co-commissioned the work with Wigmore Hall, London. Violinist Jennifer Koh commissioned and debuted Aucoin’s solo violin work Resolve for the New York Philharmonic Biennial and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In early 2017, Aucoin’s dramatic cantata The Orphic Moment had its European premiere at the Salzburger Landestheater, with the composer conducting.

Dumbarton Oaks and First Nights, with the support of the Fromm Music Foundation, co-commissioned Violin Sonata: Its Own Accord, which premiered at the European Month of Culture at Dumbarton Oaks concert on May 21, 2017. Violinist Keir GoGwilt was accompanied by Aucoin on piano.


Caroline Adelaide Shaw

Caroline Adelaide Shaw was the inaugural Early-Career Musician in Residence at Dumbarton Oaks. Trained as a violinist, Shaw is also a singer in the Grammy Award–winning Roomful of Teeth. In 2013, she became the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition Partita for 8 Voices. As a violinist, Shaw performs primarily with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME).

As well as being a New York–based musician, Shaw was a doctoral candidate in composition at Princeton University. She previously studied at Rice (BM, violin) and Yale (MM, violin), and she held a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in 2004–2005.

For Dumbarton Oaks’ seventy-fifth anniversary, the institution commissioned Shaw to compose Plan & Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks), a string quartet that was premiered by the Dover Quartet in the Dumbarton Oaks Music Room on November 1, the historic anniversary date.