Arthur Russell Strings


2015 Arthur Russell Strings

Arthur Russell Strings (ARS) is the summer festival of ECMI.   Young musicians travel to Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island for a week of playing music together, receiving instruction, and performing for eager audiences.

In 1998, Arthur Russell Strings was founded as a way to honor the legacy of an avant garde cellist, composer, singer, and musician with ties to Mount Desert Island, Maine. Arthur’s work spanned the genres of classical, disco, folk and rock. He collaborated with artists like Allen Ginsburg, Talking Heads, and Philip Glass, to name but a few. He died from AIDS in 1992. ARS began as summer festival for young musicians to experience the wonders of musical collaboration in small groups. Our one-week festival is designed to encourage young musicians to experience the joy of musical collaboration, to form deep and lasting friendships, to benefit from professional mentors, and to share the wonder of performance.

2015 ARSInspired by the impact of ARS, the Board of Directors decided to pursue their vision of making the ARS summer festival part of a larger, year-round commitment: hence the Ellsworth Community Music Institute was born.

For historical information about ARS, please visit the website:



Nancy Colter

A native of California who now lives on Mount Desert Island, Nancy Colter began her musical studies in the San Francisco Bay area, earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Sonoma State University and completed post-graduate studies at Mills College and Bennington College, where she received a Master of Fine Arts degree in chamber music performance. As a recitalist and chamber musician, she has performed widely on the west coast and throughout New England, and has presented premier performances of works by several contemporary composers.  Ms. Colter’s love of teaching students of all ages led her to become a founding member of both Arthur Russell Strings and ECMI, where she serves as artistic director and a member of the faculty.



Noreen Silver (new) (2)Assistant Artistic Director and cellist, Noreen Silver was born and grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. Her studies took her to London’s Royal College of Music and to Boston’s New England Conservatory as the recipient of a Rotary International Fellowship. Noreen’s professional experience includes several years in Seattle’s Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Boston Opera, London’s BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. She is now principal cellist of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and has twice appeared as soloist with the orchestra.  Noreen is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine, Orono, teaching cello and chamber music.



Sam GlasmanSamuel Glazman, violinist and teacher, has maintained an active private teaching studio since his arrival in the United States in 2000. Samuel teaches both in Brewer and at MDI High School, while continuing to perform as a freelance violinist. Mr. Glazman holds a Master of Performance and Teaching degree from the Vilnius State Conservatory in Lithuania. From 1970-1972 he served as Assistant Concertmaster of the Kaunus State Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. Over the course of his career, he has performed as a member of many orchestras, including the Haifa Symphony Orchestra in Israel, the Pretoria State Symphony Orchestra and Durban Philharmonic in South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in Johannesburg, the Atlantic Symphony in Halifax and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.



Ellsworth Community Music InstituteNathan Lesser began his violin studies at the age of 4 in his home state of Maine. His early teachers include Irene Rissi, Alicia Doudna, and Gilda Joffe. He attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Yale School of Music, where his primary teachers were David Bowlin and Ani Kavafian. Nate has a wide variety of musical interests which include historical performance practice, conducting, the music of today (and tomorrow), and music theory and history. Over the past several years, he has attended Kneisel Hall’s Young Artist Program and taught at Kneisel’s Young Musicians Program and Arthur Russell Strings, both of which he attended as a student while growing up. Nate is thrilled to be a part of the Ellsworth Community Music Institute and in the company of so many of the great teachers that have influenced, inspired, and encouraged him.