The Portland String Quartet has been leading the way for chamber music performance and education in Maine since it's inception in 1969.
"We are indeed fortunate that this venerable group widely respected for its technique, versatility and musicality, continues to thrive and calls Maine its home base."
- Morton Gold, Portland Press Herald
Your Portland String Quartet
Dean Stein | Violin I
Violinist Dean Stein has performed throughout the world in recitals, with orchestras, chamber music ensembles, and as a soloist. His performances frequently garner critical acclaim, as in a recording of which The Strad magazine wrote, “Dean Arthur Stein excels in the first violin’s improvisatory cadenza, his fierce yet luxuriant tone setting the mood...” A passionate performer and advocate for chamber music, Mr. Stein joined the Portland String Quartet as first violinist in 2013. In collaboration with oboist Kathleen McNerney, he founded VentiCordi Chamber Music, programming and performing creative, dynamic chamber music combining wind and string instruments. Since 2009 they have performed in Maine to great acclaim.
A highly sought-after teacher and clinician, Mr. Stein is on the faculty of Bowdoin and Bates Colleges, coaches chamber music workshops with the PSQ at Sebasco Harbor Resort, St. Joseph’s College and Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, and has taught at New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Division, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He studied first with Margaret Berend at the Henry Street Settlement, then at The Juilliard School with Lewis Kaplan and Ivan Galamian, and at University of Maryland, College Park, with Gerald Fischbach and members of the Guarneri String Quartet.
Callie Brennan | Violin II
Callie Brennan was raised in Maine, where she spent her childhood writing short stories, practicing fiddle tunes, and tracking mud all through the house. At twelve years old she began studying with Ronald Lantz, who is to thank for her constant cracking of jokes. She attended the PSQ summer chamber music workshop at St. Joseph’s throughout her high school years, and it was because of this experience that she decided to pursue music as a career.
Callie received a Bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she studied with Lina Bahn and Harumi Rhodes. In her third year she traveled abroad to Sydney, Australia, studying under the tutelage of Ole Bohn at the Sydney Conservatorium. In 2016 she moved to London where she completed two Master’s degrees in music and violin performance at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and indulged in far too much tea.
During her time abroad Callie performed alongside the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, collaborated with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and recorded a film soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios. She was invited to play in Scotland, Spain, Italy, and France, in venues such as The Barbican Stage, Royal Festival Hall, and the Sydney Opera House; more recently, Red Rocks Amphitheater and Boettcher Hall in Denver. She has appeared on stage with artists such as Bela Fleck, the Wu Tang Clan, Kristin Chenoweth, Father John Misty, Amos Lee, The Indigo Girls, Leslie Odom Jr., and many others.
Back in the States, she held title positions with the Spartanburg Philharmonic (Concertmaster), the West Virginia Symphony (principal 2nd), and the Fort Collins Symphony (principal 1st), and section positions in the Colorado Ballet and Colorado Music Festival. Also appearing regularly with the Colorado Symphony and Colorado Opera, she (unfortunately) never did find the time to ski the Rockies - a reality she’ll never be able to live down.
Callie has an extensive background in chamber music and has trained with ensembles such as the Portland String Quartet, Takács Quartet, Heath Quartet, Endellion Quartet, Chilingarian Quartet, and the Zodiac Trio. She has enjoyed several solo appearances with orchestra, performing the Walton Violin Concerto in Waterloo, London, and more recently, Mozart’s third concerto for violin with the Spartanburg Philharmonic, a concert sponsored by the Habisreutinger Stradivari Foundation.
Having recently moved back to Maine, Callie now holds a position with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and has fulfilled her long-time dream of joining the PSQ. When not practicing or dashing off to rehearsal, she spends her time trail running, beach walking, and eating alarming amounts of chocolate.
Brianna Fischler | Viola
Brianna Fischler is a versatile musician and dedicated educator, excelling as a violinist and violist. Armed with a B.M. in Violin Performance from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, Brianna honed her craft under the tutelage of the esteemed Bayla Keyes.
With an impressive background, Brianna's musical journey includes being an alumna of Kinhaven Music School and participating in renowned programs such as the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Aspen Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Garth Newel Music Center, and Three Bridges International Chamber Festival. Her performances have graced illustrious venues like The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, National Sawdust, Bay Chamber Concerts, and Tanglewood.
Brianna's dedication to excellence has been shaped by her experiences in masterclasses with luminaries like Ani Kavafian and Pinchas Zukerman.
A passionate advocate for music education, Brianna is a founding member and serves as the Education Coordinator of Palaver Strings, a dynamic chamber ensemble based in Portland, ME, committed to community engagement through music. Her commitment to nurturing young talent led her to become certified in Early Childhood Music Learning Theory and the Suzuki Method. She shares her expertise as a faculty member at the Palaver Music Center, in addition to mentoring students from her thriving private studio.
In 2022, Brianna achieved a significant milestone by joining the esteemed Portland String Quartet, adding a new dimension to her illustrious career. Beyond her musical pursuits, she resides in Portland, ME, where she finds joy in the company of her husband, a loyal sheepadoodle, and a feline companion.