Applications for 2022 – Deadline extended to February 21, 2022

SUMMER 2022 DATES ARE JUNE 19 – JULY 16, 2022

2022 Dates: June 19- July 16

Center Stage Strings is an MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institute at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. To learn more about the daily life of a CSS Student, click here  To learn more about the U-M MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes, click here .

If you have any artistic or repertoire related questions, please email

If you have any logistical, payment-related questions, or issues with the application process, please email

All interested students must complete an easy application process:

Upload your audition materials via CampDoc (See instrument-specific requirements below)

Upload all audition media in that portal (audition video files, required documents, headshots, etc.) You will also be asked to pay a non-refundable Application Fee of $75

Priority Application Deadline for all materials to be submitted is February 1st. DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 21st   Application Requirements are listed below

**We are thrilled to announce that CSS plans to be fully in-person this summer!
  • In-Person Tuition: $4500

Session Dates: June 19-July 16, 2022
Priority Application Deadline: February 1, 2022 DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 21st, 2022

Program Description
Center Stage Strings was founded by renowned violinist and U-M Professor Danielle Belen to develop the talents of serious young classical music students in the areas of solo and chamber music performance. The natural beauty of the campus surroundings and the music intertwine in this four-week long institute to create a unique summer experience. Students are expected to stay for the entire four weeks.

The young musicians chosen to participate will have a unique opportunity to focus purely on developing their talents without the distractions of normal, everyday life. Although all CSS students will study and perform chamber music during the four week session, applicants can also elect to be considered for the Chamber Music Accelerated Program, in which they are placed with other experienced players looking to complete full works in a more intensive environment. Students are selected from a competitive pool of applicants and there are a limited number of spots.

In addition to the student-driven coursework of Center Stage Strings, there are also Guest Artist Recitals, Faculty Concerts and Masterclasses presented by world class artists and teachers.

Components of Center Stage Strings

  • Private lessons
  • Technique Classes daily
  • Faculty Concerts
  • Masterclasses
  • Guest artist recitals
  • Performance Opportunities
  • Chamber Music
  • ‘Complete Musician’ professional development
  • Community outreach performances
  • Music Theory/Score Study
  • College application and audition preparation

Age Eligibility
Center Stage Strings accepts applications from students ages 12-24. Minors aged 12-17 stay in residence halls, while students who are 18 and over (by the start of the session) reside in on-campus adult housing.

Applications are not considered complete until all required materials and application payment have been received.

Application Link – APPLY HERE

PLEASE CONTINUE READING BELOW before starting application process via the link above. You may be asked to pay the application fee first, so you can refer to all the information below about Audition Requirements listed below.

*Please note you can revisit your application as many times as needed, however, all of the items listed above are due by February 21, 2022.  The application will automatically save as your fill in your application. 

Application Deadline & Admissions Notification
Priority Application Deadline for all materials to be submitted is FEBRUARY 21st (Applications will still be considered after February 1st)

Admission notifications for priority applicants will be e-mailed on March 15, 2022. For priority consideration and notification, all application and audition materials must be received by the priority deadline.

Applications may be accepted after the priority deadline for programs and/or instruments in which openings remain. Review, admission, and notification for late applications will be on a rolling basis. Space is limited.

Admissions decisions will not be given by phone.

Audition Requirements

All audition videos must include the following:

Audition Piece 1

  • A movement of a concerto (or showpiece of comparable difficulty)

Audition Piece 2

  • A contrasting work. Bach would be acceptable as a contrasting work, or a slow movement of the same concerto. We also encourage that this contrasting piece be a work by an underrepresented composer.

At least one of these pieces should be performed with accompaniment. Both pieces should be performed from memory (unless contrasting piece is a sonata or a contemporary piece). Audio and picture quality of your video are important (see guidelines below).

ADDITIONAL repertoire for the Chamber Music Accelerated Program Audition
Students wishing to be considered for this program (see Program Description above) will need to prepare the following piece and excerpts in addition to their regular audition repertoire above.  THESE EXCERPTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AFTER APPLICATIONS OPEN NOV 15TH

VIOLIN: Exposition of the first mvmt of a Mozart violin concerto. Piano not required, but accepted.

Chamber Music Excerpts (Violin): Beethoven String Quartet Op.18 no. 4, first mvmt beginning to m.77 (first violin part) AND Brahms String Quartet op. 67 no. 3, first mvmt beginning to m.82 (first violin part)

VIOLA: Exposition of the Stamitz Viola Concerto in D Major, first movement (piano not required, but accepted) OR the first movement of a viola Sonata by Brahms, Hindemith, Vieuxtemps, Schubert or Clarke. Other Sonatas may be considered with prior approval.
Chamber Music Excerpts (Viola): Mozart “Kegelstatt” Trio in E flat Major K. 498, first movement mm. 57-End AND Brahms Quartet No. 3 Op. 67, third movement (Agitato) Beginning to mm. 57.
CELLO: Exposition of the first movement of Haydn cello concertos in C Major or D Major (piano not required, but accepted), OR the first movement of one of the last three Beethoven sonatas, Brahms F Major sonata, or Shostakovich sonata. Other sonatas may be considered upon approval.
Chamber Music Excerpts (cello): Mendelssohn piano trio in C minor, mov III. Scherzo, mm 184-230 AND Brahms piano quartet in C minor, mov III. Andante, mm 1-17


  • You may submit multiple videos
  • Make sure that the auditioning student’s face is clearly visible, with their upper body near the camera
  • Ensure that the background of the video is simple, uncluttered, and not too bright (e.g., don’t stand in front of a window).
  • Place the microphone close to the auditioning student and away from the piano.

Record a Personal Statement video. In your Personal Statement video, please elaborate on the following prompts:

  1. Speak about why you are passionate about music.
  2. Share something interesting about yourself.
  3. Discuss why you want to study at MPulse Center Stage Strings.

Your spoken Personal Statement Video should be 3 minutes or less.

The Personal Statement Video should be submitted as a separate file from the audition video.

Upload a document with a list of solo and chamber works studied in the last 5 years.


  1. Upload one color headshot
  2. If possible, please also provide a photo of you with your instrument for professional promotion
  3. Headshots do not have to be professionally taken, but should be clear and recent.
  4. Headshots should be front-facing, as they will be used for ID purposes.


You may submit one teacher evaluation (artistic teacher or mentor(s) (preferred), academic teacher, or non-relative who can speak directly to the student’s academic aptitude, potential, and classroom performance).  A recommendation form is not required for this institute.

Given the disruptions caused by COVID, we know that student/teacher relationships may have been impacted, making it more difficult for students to acquire teacher recommendations. We still encourage students to submit a letter of recommendation, preferably one who instructed the student within the prior 12 months. However, the teacher recommendation may come from someone other than a teacher (not a parent/guardian, grandparent, sibling or other relative) who can speak directly to the student’s academic and artistic aptitude, potential, and performance. This might include a community-based organization educator or academic support program professional.

Students should send this form to their recommender to fill out or the recommender may download the recommendation form here.  Please have your recommender email their recommendation letter to smtd-mpulserecs@umich.eduRecommendations are due by February 21st, 2022. (Update: Recommendations can be submitted after the deadline without penalty)

Recommendation Form (Available as PDF, Word Document, or Google Document)

Application Checklist for Center Stage Strings

o    Audition Videos – Upload your audition materials (videos via sharable link (Google Drive (preferred), Dropbox or YouTube)

o    Personal Statement Video

o    Repertoire List

o    Headshot

o    Recommendation Letter


Center Stage Strings awards a limited number of scholarships to extremely talented students based on Faculty discretion. Consideration for these scholarships is automatic for applications received by the application deadline.


A limited number of need-based scholarships are available to families with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $100,000 or under in the previous calendar year, or with special circumstances due to the pandemic. To be considered you must upload your financial aid materials by the application deadline as part of your application.  This includes:

  • Monthly Expenses
  • Previous Year’s Tax Return
  • Statement of Need 


  1. Audition videos with repertoire required above (If applying for Accelerated Program, include those videos in addition to regular audition videos)
  1. Personal Statement (additional video file)
  2. Repertoire List
  3. Headshot
  4. Recommendation Letter

For more information regarding the MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes, please visit

If you have any artistic or repertoire related questions, please email

If you have any logistical, payment-related questions, or issues with the application process, please email