The String Department is focused on the highest standards of performance at all levels, from the bachelor's degree to the doctorate and artist diploma.
Students from around the world come to Bloomington to study violin, viola, cello, or double bass. Each faculty member maintains a studio of 16 or more students, who have individual weekly lessons. Talented high school students also have an opportunity to study with faculty in the String Department through the Open Program. In addition to emphasis on the standard modern string instruments, students can pursue special interests in early music and jazz. There is also the opportunity to play the latest compositions, including pieces by IU School of Music faculty and student composers. The String Department holds four to five solo competitions each year: two in violin, one in viola, and one in cello, as well as one in double bass every other year. Winners perform with IU School of Music orchestras.
Students also have access to performance-quality instruments through the Elite String Instrument Collection.
Graduates of the program can be found in every major orchestra in the United States and Canada, as well as in quartets and chamber groups who perform worldwide. Some graduates enjoy international concert careers, such as violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Gary Hoffman, and double bassist Edgar Meyer. Other graduates hold teaching positions in public and private schools, many at the university or conservatory level.