The Tesla Quartet

Marjorie Young Bell String Quartet-in-Residence 2016-2017

Mount Allison Quartet-in-Residence, the Tesla Quartet.

By Dawn Morrison

Fresh off a tour of China and South Korea, and a performance in New York City, the award-winning Tesla Quartet is back in its adopted hometown of Sackville, NB. As the Marjorie Young Bell String Quartet-in-Residence at Mount Allison, the members of the Quartet are continuing their work of challenging, inspiring, and mentoring Music students.

Formed at The Juilliard School in 2008, the Tesla Quartet is Ross Snyder (violin), Michelle Lie (violin), Edwin Kaplan (viola), and Serafim Smigelskiy (cello).

Snyder says the Mount A residency has been a fantastic experience so far, both for the Quartet and the students.

“It’s been really great to work with the students. They have such a positive attitude and you can tell they are really enjoying their studies,” he says.

Lie agrees. She notes that in addition to technical proficiency, students are being exposed to many other learning and growth opportunities through the natural collaboration and experimentation that happens while working with a quartet.

“One of the benefits of collaboration is that there is a lot of opportunity for self-discovery, both for the individual and the group,” she says. “When you play music together, that’s a language in itself. It’s one of the things we are trying to impart and students are picking up on it.”

As active members of the Department of Music, the Quartet is presenting master classes, coaching student chamber music ensembles, working with the Mount Allison Chamber Orchestra, collaborating and performing with students and faculty, and presenting four concerts of its own repertoire.

Students have been especially thrilled at the opportunity to have the Quartet perform original pieces of music they have composed.

“It’s a good way for them to learn to give and receive constructive criticism on their creative work. Accepting and using this type of feedback is an important skill, especially when the work is so personal,” Snyder says.

The residency was funded by the Marjorie Young Bell Endowment Fund and was established in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Mount Allison’s first Bachelor of Music degree and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory of Music.

“The residency has given our students the chance to work closely with a renowned quartet, when some of them may not have even heard a professional string quartet live before,” says Stephen Runge, department head and associate professor of Music. “This has provided invaluable, real-life experience for them and they’ve been excited to take part in this opportunity.”

“It’s allowed us to bring Mount Allison’s rich tradition and history in music to life and add something very special to the students’ studies. It would be amazing if we could continue to offer this residency into the future.”

The Tesla Quartet scheduled a series of performances and collaborations over the year in celebration of the two Music anniversaries.

Upcoming performances

Friday, March 24 – The Space Between: A Creative Collaboration
Composer Kevin Morse presents the premiere performance of a new work for string quartet performed by the Tesla Quartet and inspired and accompanied by images of a series of new intaglio prints by Mount Allison visual artist Dan Steeves.
Brunton Auditorium, 7:30 p.m, followed by a reception and exhibition of Steeves’ work in the Owens Art Gallery.

Saturday, April 1 — Quartet Recital
Performing works by Gershwin, Bolcom, Ljova, plus a newly-commissioned work. Brunton Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

Find out more about the Tesla Quartet and the Bell String Quartet-in-Residence program  

Visit the Tesla Quartet website: