String Academy

A program providing unique opportunities for dedicated young string players to realize their full musical potential, within a community of motivating and nurturing faculty.



The University of Louisville String Academy offers a comprehensive program of masterclasses, chamber music, music theory, and concerto performance opportunities with orchestra, aimed at the highest level of pre-college talent. Acceptance is determined by audition. The Academy will meet twice a month on Saturdays.

Our Students

Academy students are chosen by competitive auditions. We accept only the most talented and accomplished string students in the metropolitan area.


The University of Louisville School of Music string faculty will be the primary Academy faculty. All faculty have extensive teaching and performing experience, both nationally and internationally.


Masterclasses will be offered in each instrument. Any academy student will be eligible to perform, based on his or her private teacher's nomination. Each student will attend the masterclasses appropriate to his or her instrument. These will be taught by our faculty, as well as nationally known guest artists.

Chamber Music

We consider chamber music experience essential to the highest development of musical ability. Therefore, each student will participate in a small ensemble, with regular coachings.

Concerto Chamber Orchestra

All students will participate in this orchestra, whose purpose is to provide an opportunity for students to read through their concertos with orchestral accompaniment on a regular basis. This is an offering unique to the Academy, not offered elsewhere in the region.


All students will get music theory lessons to help strengthen their musicianship, reading skills and understanding of the structure of music.

Performance Opportunities

Each Academy student will have the opportunity to perform on a regular basis. We will hold recitals for solo and chamber music, both in-house and public.


Academy String Faculty

Brittany MacWilliams, Violin/Viola and DirectorMs. MacWilliams teaches Violin and Viola at the University of Louisville. She has performed as soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster throughout the US, Europe and Asia. She has served on the faculties of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Xavier University, and she directed the Cincinnati Starling program for over ten years.

J. Patrick Rafferty, Violin/Viola

J. Patrick Rafferty is Professor of Violin at the University of Louisville and first violin with the Louisville String Quartet. He has been concertmaster of a dozen professional orchestras, including the Dallas Bach, the Cincinnati Chamber, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras. His students have won many prestigious teaching and performing positions, as well as many scholarship competitions.

Paul York, Cello

Paul York has established an international reputation as an exceptional chamber musician and a champion of contemporary music. He is Professor of Cello at the University of Louisville, and during the summers, he is a member if the artist-faculty at Sewanee Music Festival. As soloist, he can be heard on the Centaur, Arizona University Press, Ablaze, and CRS record labels.

Sidney King, Double-Bass

Sidney A. King teaches Double Bass at the University of Louisville and at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. He has recently retired as the assistant principal bassist of the Louisville Orchestra, having held that position from 1984-2006. As an active soloist and chamber musician, Mr. King performs frequently throughout the Midwest in various recital settings.

Fall semester 2014 String Academy Calendar:

Auditions: Sept. 6

Program dates:
Sept. 13
Sept. 20
Oct. 4
Oct. 18
Nov. 1
Nov. 8
Nov. 15
Nov. 22
Dec. 6
Classes run on these Saturdays 10 am-2 pm. Lessons may be scheduled on separate days/times.

String Academy Application

For more information or to schedule an audition, contact Brittany MacWilliams at Please email or mail the following application to:

Professor Brittany MacWilliams

String Academy Director

University of Louisville

School of Music

Louisville, KY 40292