ALBANY — The award-winning Tesla Quartet, formed at the Julliard School in 2008 and quickly established as one of the most promising young ensembles in New York, will kick off the second annual Willson Chamber Music Series on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. at the Albany Museum of Art. The series is a collaboration between the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the art museum.
The quartet won the Gold Medal at the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, was Prizewinner in the 2012 London International String Quartet Competition and the 2013 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition. They also earned Second Prize at the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition only a few months after its inception. The London Evening Standard called their rendition of the Debussy Quartet “a subtly coloured performance that balanced confidently between intimacy and extraversion,” and The Strad has praised them as “technically superb.”
From 2009 to 2012 the quartet — violinists Ross Snyder and Michelle Lie, violist Megan Mason, and cellist Kimberly Patterson — held a fellowship as the Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado – Boulder, where they studied with the world renowned Takacs Quartet.
“I am delighted to feature our first string quartet in the Willson Chamber Music Series. The string quartet is one of the most common chamber ensembles used by composers and the Tesla Quartet is one of the finest young quartets on the classical music scene today,” said Claire Fox Hillard, ASO Music Director.
The quartet has enjoyed a busy performing schedule, both in the U.S. and abroad, with concerts throughout Colorado as well as appearances in Austria, England and France. Recent engagements include the Fischoff Gold Medal Winner’s Tour of the Midwest and performances as the Quartet-in-Residence at the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, CO, and in Montreal and Michigan. Other engagements in the 2012-13 season included concerts in Long Island, Salt Lake City, Tennessee, Tulsa and the quartet’s French debut in Provence through the ProQuartet European Chamber Music Center.
In addition to their work with the Takacs Quartet, the Tesla Quartet has worked with Gunter Pichler and Rainer Schmidt in ProQuartet-CEMC’s professional training program. Additional coaches include the Tokyo String Quarter, the Artis Quarter, James Dunham, Curtis Macomber, Robert Mann, Sylvia Rosenberg and Michael Tree, and members of the Alban Berg, Emerson, Endellion, Kronos and Leipzig String Quartets. Recently the quartet participated in an innovative workshop with laptop performance technology in collaboration with the Boulder Laptop Orchestra. It was also the central ensemble in a unique series of master classes on classical improvisation, presented by David Dolan of London’s Guildhall School. In the summer of 2011 the quartet held a fellowship at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and in 2010 they were fellows at the Aspen Music Festival’s Center for Advanced Quartet Studies.
The quartet will perform pieces by Haydn, Mendelssohn and 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw.
An avid chamber musician, Snyder is the founding first violinist of the Tesla Quartet. Snyder’s extensive orchestral experience began at age ten, when he joined various youth orchestras in the Pittsburgh area. Later orchestral projects include performances at Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He spent the summer of 2008 serving as an assistant concertmaster of the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland and also participated in the VFO’s 2008 European tour to Milan, Luzern, Berlin, and Madrid. During his studies at Juilliard he served as one of the leaders of the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra, and he toured China with the Juilliard Orchestra in 2008.
Having recently received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Snyder received his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Joel Smirnoff. He received his undergraduate degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied with Malcolm Lowe.
Ms. Mason is the founding violist of the Tesla Quartet. As an orchestral musician Ms. Mason has served as a tenured member and substitute principal of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. During her studies at The Juilliard School, Ms. Mason served as Co-Principal of the Juilliard Orchestra. She has also been Resident Violist at the Medomak Conductor’s Retreat in Maine, Principal of University of Colorado at Boulder Chamber Symphony, Principal of University Symphony Orchestra at the University of Michigan, and Principal of the Young Artist Chamber Players in Salt Lake City, Utah.
As an active performer in comprehensive musical genres, Ms. Lie has been featured in diverse performances throughout the country. Currently the second violinist of the Tesla Quartet, she was a founding member of the Iannis String Quartet and received the Special Recognition award from the Plowman Chamber Music Competition in 2008.
Although her musical education in violin started at the age of 14 from the influence of her vocalist father, she was quickly recognized through various performances and awards. Ms. Lie received her Bachelor’s Degree from Dankook University, where she studied with Deashik Kang, and her Master’s Degree from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Eric Rosenblith. She also holds a Professional Studies certificate from the Cleveland Institute of Music with William Preucil. While currently living and working with the Tesla Quartet in Boulder, Colorado, Ms. Lie is also pursuing her Doctor of Music Degree with Mark Kaplan at Indiana University, where she was an Associate Violin Performance Instructor 2008-11.
Hailed by the Chicago Sun Times as a “superb cellist,” Dr. Patterson has earned recognition for her artistry as a chamber and orchestral musician. Currently the cellist for the Tesla Quartet, she has given chamber recitals in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center and has held chamber residencies with the Aspen Music Festival and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival.
A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music with academic honors, Dr. Patterson earned her Master of Music Degree at The Juilliard School. Her principal teachers include Andras Fejér, Judith Glyde, Richard Aaron and Stephen Geber.
Dr. Patterson earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was graduate assistant to the Takács Quartet.
Snyder, Ms. Mason and Dr. Patterson play on instruments by the late American maker Joseph Rashid, which are on loan from the Joseph Rasid Foundation.
Tickets are $20 per person and $10 per student with ID. Series subscriptions are $50 per person, $20 per student with ID. A post-concert reception follows the performance. To purchase tickets, contact the Symphony office at 229-430-8933 or go online to www.albanysymphony.org. Tickets will be available at the door.
The ASO’s next season concert will feature pianist Awadagin Pratt on Nov. 16 at 7:30 pm in the Albany Municipal Auditorium. The ASO is celebrating its 50th anniversary season.