Applications CLOSED for 2024


2024 Dates: June 16- July 13

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 

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 Acceptd (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

Application Requirements are listed below

  • In-Person Tuition: $4725

Session Dates: June 16-July 13, 2024

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. Private lessons, daily technique class and a host of performance opportunities are available to our young artists. All CSS students will study and perform chamber music, rehearsing daily and coaching with faculty members multiple times each week. Players with a heightened level of experience in chamber music may choose to audition for Accelerated Chamber Music. These groups will be expected 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 (two-45 minute lessons per week)
  • Technique Classes daily
  • Faculty Concerts
  • Masterclasses
  • Guest Artist Recitals
  • Performance Opportunities
  • Chamber Music
  • ‘Complete Musician’ professional development
  • Public Speaking
  • Community Engagement Performances
  • Music Theory/Score Study
  • College Application and Audition Preparation
  • Advanced offerings: Accelerated Chamber Music and/or Presentation of a Solo Recital*

*Advanced Offerings

  • Spotlight Recital – an advanced opportunity for select young artists to perform a complete solo recital, chosen by audition recordings and repertoire lists. Several students will be invited to focus their time at CSS around the preparation of a 60-75 minute professional-level recital. No additional audition is required for consideration.

Age Eligibility
Center Stage Strings accepts applications from students ages 12-26. 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. Applicants under the age of 12 may be considered on an individual basis. Please contact


Begin Application through Acceptd – CLICK HERE   (read instructions below)

IMPORTANT: Please note that once you create your Acceptd profile, you’ll need to search for “MPulse” in the directory to start your application. You will be taken the MPulse page where you can select Center Stage Strings and move through the application.

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 9, 2024 for the priority deadline (see below for timeline).  The application will automatically save as your fill in your application. 

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

Application Deadline & Admissions Notification

Priority Application Deadline (highly recommended): February 9, 2024

Priority Admissions Email Notification: February 23, 2024

Deposit/decision confirmation due from Priority Applicants: March 8, 2024

Applications will remain open until the program is full. Rolling application submissions will be reviewed on a weekly basis for CSS through April 15, but space is limited. Priority Applications are recommended.

For priority consideration and notification, all application and audition materials must be received by the priority deadline above.

Admissions decisions will not be given by phone.

For artistic questions related to auditions, email

For logistical, payment related, or website questions related to auditions, email

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. Note: 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).

Audition Piece 3


  • 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.


We are no longer requiring letters of recommendation. Your consideration for acceptance will be based upon your submitted audition videos.

Application Checklist for Center Stage Strings

o    Audition Videos – Upload your audition materials through Acceptd

o    Personal Statement Video

o    Repertoire List

o    Headshot


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.


Attention violinists with and without previous experience playing viola!  Interested in expanding your skills through chamber music and receiving up to a 25% scholarship towards your CSS tuition? If accepted as a violinist, you can be considered for a viola chamber music scholarship, play in a fantastic group and add to your skillset for the rest of your career. Your solo violin experience at Center Stage Strings would be the same (private lessons, technique classes, etc) with the benefit of playing viola in a string quartet with other high level players.

Details of an instrument (viola) loan can be discussed upon acceptance and consideration for these scholarships on a case by case basis.

“As a violinist, playing viola feels like doing a deep cleanse of my technique; it reveals new layers of nuance in bow control and intonation. At Center Stage, I got to workshop these skills within the context of chamber music, all while gaining a new appreciation for the violist’s role in a string quartet.” Will Thain, violinist, 2021


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 (including Accelerated Chamber Music audition if applicable)
  1. Personal Statement (additional video file)
  2. Repertoire List
  3. Headshot

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