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The Duke University String School, which was founded by Dorothy Kitchen and Arlene di Cecco in 1967, has been part of the Durham community for forty-nine years.  DUSS offers private lessons, group classes, chamber music, large ensemble opportunities, theory classes, Studio Classes with DUSS teachers, Master Classes with area artists, and special classes such as technique classes, Music Mindfulness, Managing Performance Anxiety.

Our basic principle is that of teaching the love of music, the devotion to the quality of one's own performance of that music, and a sense of integrity in one's work.  In DUSS, we strive for a high level of excellence while providing a supportive atmosphere for our students.

DUSS  welcomed Erica Shirts as our new director in August 2015.  You may see her bio here.


Scholarship Assistance

Under the Duke University String School (DUSS) Dorothy Kitchen Scholarship Fund, families may apply for scholarship assistance to participate in the opportunities offered through DUSS. 

We have scholarship assistance from the Eason Foundation and from the Robert B. Fearing Endowment for Chamber Music which has been established for the Duke String School by the Fearing Family through Duke University.


The Fall Semester: September 5 - December 10. 

No rehearsals or classes on November 26.

Spring Semester: January 9 - May 7th. 

No rehearsals or classes on April 16.

Erica Shirts is interviewed on WCPE's Preview Show 11/22/15:


Read the article about our director,

Erica Shirts, published in Duke Today!


The Duke University String School is a non-profit organization under the auspices of Duke University.

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    • Master class with Ara Gregorian