Called “dashing and extraordinary” by The Strad Magazine, the Apple Hill String Quartet has earned praise around the world for its concerts presenting interpretive mastery of traditional repertoire, neglected masterpieces, and music from around the world, as well as world premieres and commissioned pieces. As resident musicians and Co-Artistic Directors at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, winner of the 2016 CMAcclaim award from Chamber Music America, the Quartet serves as the Music Directors and core faculty for Apple Hill’s Summer Chamber Music Workshop attended by 300 students of diverse ages, levels, and backgrounds. During the regular concert season, in conjunction with Apple Hill’s Playing for Peace program, the Quartet performs concerts and conducts residencies locally in New Hampshire, nationally in major U.S. cities, and internationally around the globe in venues as diverse as the Ketermaya refugee camp outside of Beirut, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the Conservatorio National de Musica in Lima, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and UCLA. The Quartet has collaborated with members of the Brentano String Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble, Dorian Wind Quintet, Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo, New York Philharmonic, and Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI. Most recent studio recordings include the premiere of Dana Lyn’s Suite for Fiddler and String Quartet, a revival of Ahmed Adnan Saygun’s String Quartet No. 1, and transcriptions of Purcell Fantasias. Members of the Quartet have received degrees from Oberlin Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, SUNY Stonybrook, and a Fulbright Award to London, England.
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The Apple Hill String Quartet accompanies [soprano Margot Rood in Heather Gilligan’s Battlegrounds for Voice and String Quartet] with commanding energy, excellent intonation, and richly-hued colors.
-by Jonathan Blumhofer, The Arts Fuse, Boston’s online arts magazine
Just wanted to mention how significant the Apple Hill Quartet, Myriam Avalos and your visit was for our Conservatory. It was as if you guys had a magic wand and swung it past our students. They feel enlightened with this new understanding of chamber music. They have discovered how to connect among themselves through music and making music. An important change in their and our lives.
-María Isabel Dávila Reyes, Secretaria General, Conservatorio Nacional de Música, Peru
Called “first rate” by the Boston Globe, Elise Kuder is the first violinist of the Apple Hill String Quartet which has been called “dashing and extraordinary” by The Strad Magazine. She is a Co-Artistic Director of the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music where she has been a resident musician since 1998. With Apple Hill, Elise has performed and taught in venues as diverse as the Curtis Institute of Music, Moscow Conservatory, Wigmore Hall, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, UCLA, the Institutes of Music in Damascus and Alleppo, the Gitameit Music Institute in Burma, the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Lima, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Ketermaya refugee camp outside of Beirut, and the Harrisville General Store. Recent studio recordings with the Quartet include a premiere of Dana Lyn’s Suite for Fiddler and String Quartet, a revival of Ahmed Adnan Saygun’s String Quartet No. 1, and transcriptions of Purcell Fantasias. Elise serves as a Music Director for Apple Hill’s Summer Chamber Music Workshop. Elise is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and the Juilliard School where she studied with Marilyn MacDonald and Joel Smirnoff. She attended the Tanglewood Music Center where she won the Kohn Award for outstanding musicianship and served as concertmaster of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra under conductors Robert Spano and Bernard Haitink. As a Fulbright Scholar, Elise studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England, with David Takeno. In her spare time away from Apple Hill, she has performed at the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem with disco legends Patrick Adams, Black Ivory, and Donna McGhee and teaches violin in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. Her students have gone on to attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Boston Conservatory at Berklee, have been selected as concertmaster of the Middle School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, and one learned Bach’s Solo Sonatas and Partitas at the age of 82.
An artist in residence and a Co-Artistic Director at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Colleen plays second violin in the Apple Hill String Quartet. Prior to this appointment, she was a member of the Kammerorchester Basel in Switzerland and toured extensively throughout Western Europe. She can be heard with the group on several CD’s including Beethoven Symphonies 1-2 with Giovanni Antonini and a recording of Modern Classical music with Christopher Hogwood and Emma Kirkby. Also while in Switzerland, she co-founded the chamber ensemble Ex Luce Color, with the early music soprano, Ana Arnaz. The group seeks to bridge early, contemporary and traditional music in its varied programs and has performed on concert series in France, Spain, Germany, and the USA. Colleen’s interest in various styles of music has led her to explore Celtic Fiddle. She has worked with such artists as Alasdair Fraser, Bruce Molsky and Laura Risk among others. In addition to her teaching activities with Apple Hill, Colleen also teaches at Smith College and runs a chamber music class for high school students in Northampton, MA. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory and Masters of Music degree from Rice University. In addition she received an Artist’s Diploma from the Schweizerischer Musikpädagogischer Verband in Basel, Switzerland. Her principal teachers include Sergiu Luca, Marilyn McDonald and Antonio Pellegrini.
Mike Kelley, Apple Hill String Quartet violist and Co-Artistic Director at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, graduated from The Walnut Hill School for the Arts and has received degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and The Juilliard School. His teachers have included Leonard Matczynski, Jeffrey Irvine, and Karen Tuttle. A Primrose International Viola Competition finalist at the age of 18, Mike joined the resident ensemble of the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music three years later and has been performing and touring internationally with the group for over 20 years. He is the Music Director and Coordinator of Apple Hill’s Summer Chamber Music Workshop where he directs sessions, performs concerts, and coaches chamber music throughout the summer in New Hampshire. An active composer, Mike has been a Teaching Fellow in Electronic Music at Juilliard, and a guest lecturer at Harvard on the subject of electronic dance music. Under a pop-disco alias, he has performed worldwide in clubs such as Webster Hall (NYC), the O2 (London), and Berghain (Berlin), and has written and produced music for many pop acts, including Metro Area, Caribou, Madonna, and Pharrell. His albums have been selected for the “best of the decade” lists of music magazines Stylus and Fact, and have been highly recommended by Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, and the Guardian.
Rupert Thompson, cellist with the Apple Hill String Quartet and Co-Artistic Director at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, has been a resident member of Apple Hill since 1997. Making his solo debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the age of 18, Rupert has studied with Mihaly Virizlay and Timothy Eddy. Holding degrees from the Peabody Institute (BM) in Baltimore MD and SUNY Stony Brook of New York (MM and DMA), Rupert has received a career grant from the Concert Artist Guild, as well as the C.D. Jackson Memorial Award of Merit from the Tanglewood Music Center. Live radio broadcasts of his solo engagements include WFMT of Chicago and WQXR in New York City. In addition to his active Apple Hill concert and teaching schedule with such notable institutions as the Moscow Conservatory, Williams College, the Curtis Institute, Dartmouth College, UCLA, the Yerevan State Conservatory, and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Rupert is also a photographer, a screen writer, and served as film composer for the award-winning movie Sensation of Sight which featured Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn.