Tesla Quartet "keeps it modern"
Ryan Summerlin April 19, 2012
The Tesla Quartet performed on April 13 in the fourth installment of the Grand County Concert Series to great reviews. Keeping it modern and classical at the same time is their goal – and they achieved it.
The Tesla Quartet – Russ Snyder (violin), Michelle Lie (violin), Megan Mason (viola), and Kimberly Patterson (cello) – named their quartet after Nikola Tesla, an electrical engineer/inventor of the AC electrical current and instrumental in the development of electromagnetism.
The name represents energy, and their music proved it.
“We use connectivity and hopefully something sparks (with the audience),” said Mason.
“We decided as a group to focus on the character, what the music portrays, the deeper understanding, bringing the music to life,” added Patterson, injecting a “twist to our concerts.”
The response of many of the audience members was: The best concert of the season thus far.
They performed Mozart’s String Quartet in C major, K. 465 “Dissonance” and Prokoviev’s String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 92.
Following intermission, the quartet treated the audience to the same piece they performed at the London International String Quartet Competition at the beginning of this month. They were the only American string quartet entered in the competition, and they proudly returned with the third place prize.
“It was a magical experience,” said Snyder.
Deciding that “perfect was not attainable,” they chose to “not play it safe,” said Snyder.
The group wowed the judges in London – and the audience in Grand County – with French composer Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, Op 10.
The piece was performed with precision, the musicians staying perfectly in sync with one another. They made it sound and look seamless.
“They seem to be playing off of each other,” observed audience member Ann Wheeler.
Debussy’s work – described as dazzling figurations, rhythmic vitality and unconventional chords – attests to Tesla’s name and performance.
While the musicians have chosen a less popular genre of music among young adults, they are having the time of their lives.
Traveling internationally, taking risks, reaching out to audiences with classical music in unconventional places, such as bars, and seeing where the road takes them is “keeping it modern.”
The quartet lives in Boulder for the time-being and made the trip to the other side of the Divide to perform in Grand County for the first time.
“Colorado is a really great place for the arts,” said Patterson.