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Pro Arte Quartet at UW
The Pro Arte Quartet, shown here performing in 1956 or 1957, was originally formed in Brussels in 1911 and is believed to be the world’s oldest continuously performing string quartet.

While performing at UW’s Union Theater on May 10, 1940, the quartet received the news that Belgium had been invaded by Germany, effectively stranding three of the four musicians in the United States.

The University, in accordance with a previous verbal agreement, offered the quartet an artist-ensemble-in-residence position in the Music School, making them the first group in the country to receive such a position. The prestigious quartet continues to this day.

The Pro Arte Quartet celebrates its 100th birthday this year! Here’s to another next century of magnificent music.

For more information about this video or UW-Madison campus history, visit

Video clip from “The Living Room of the University” (1957). 

Posted by Molly Temple for UW Archives. 

Filed under music UW-Madison Pro Arte Quartet 1950s history Wisconsin US history School of Music faculty