LARK Society for Chamber Music


The LARK Society and The Portland String Quartet

The LARK Society for Chamber Music is a non-profit corporation, established in 1981, for the purpose of promoting chamber music in Maine through the performances and educational programs of the Portland String QuartetLARK’s name comes from the first letters of the founding member's surnames – Ronald Lantz, Julia Adams, Paul Ross, and Stephen Kecskemethy – and from Haydn’s famous quartet, The Lark.

LARK supports activities that will assure a permanent residence in Maine for the internationally-acclaimed Portland String Quartet: a good example of the creative impact citizens can have on their community.

The founding members of the Portland String Quartet played together from 1969 to 2012, and are celebrated among ensembles worldwide for their longevity as well as the variety of their accomplishments.  They have toured Europe, Latin America, and Japan, and have played on such illustrious stages as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.  They have recorded extensively, twice having been honored for Chamber Music Recordings of the Year.  Much of the Quartet’s professional life is managed by their agency, Joanne Rile Management, with whom The LARK Society cooperates whenever possible.  LARK, however, keeps its focus on Maine – and what the Portland String Quartet can do for those who live here. The quartet now welcomes Dean Stein, praised for his "luxuriant tone", as a violinist of national and international stature. He brings to the ensemble a passion for chamber music and an exquisite talent to match this great repertoire. The quartet also welcomes cellist Patrick Owen who replaces retired cellist Paul Ross.

LARK as Innovators

The LARK Society and Portland String Quartet have a proven commitment to building knowledge and love of music in future generations of concert-goers through innovative programs and policies that educate people of all ages in the wonder of string quartet music, and engender in them a life-long love of intimate, carefully wrought chamber music.

Some of these innovations include a Free Ticket Policy for those 21 and younger, our nationally recognized High School Residency Program in American Studies and our enormously popular Welcome to Chamber Music program. We have also found our Subsidized Ticket Policy for those with restricted incomes to be increasingly important to the people of Maine with requests for such tickets rising 26% in the past two years.

LARK as Collaborators

The LARK Society and the PSQ actively collaborate with other municipal and cultural organizations. Some of these collaborators have been Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick; Ram Island Dance; Portland Museum of Art; Portland’s Downtown District; Portland Conservatory of Music; Bates College; River Tree Arts in Kennebunk; and more than a dozen Maine high schools.

LARK’s Sustainability

The LARK Society raises funds to support its programs through a variety of sources including advertising in the concert program; grants; individual contributions; local business support; ticket sales and sponsorships. We have presented the four-concert Portland Concert Series annually for more than 25 years, and have offered the High School Residency program yearly for the past 13 years. Our newest program, Welcome to Chamber Music, has been so popular that it has been presented by LARK eight times since its inception in 2000. Our programs succeed.