AHSQ Welcomes New Cellist

Apple Hill String Quartet, Jesse MacDonald, Elise Kuder, Mike Kelley, Jacob MacKay

Photo: Hannah Schroeder

Apple Hill String Quartet Welcomes New Cellist
Jacob MacKay joins Quartet beginning fall 2024


Dear Apple Hill community,

Celebrating its 53rd season, the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music has chosen cellist Jacob MacKay to be co-artistic director and member of its award-winning resident ensemble, the Apple Hill String Quartet (AHSQ), joining violinists Elise Kuder and Jesse MacDonald, and violist Mike Kelley. Originally from Francestown, NH, Jacob is a longtime Apple Hill alumnus. He attended the Summer Chamber Music Workshop for several summers as a student beginning at age 13, and has served as guest artist and summer faculty member at Apple Hill for the past two years.

Jacob MacKay was most recently a cellist, teacher, and resident musician with the Newport String Project. He studied cello with Joshua Gordon at Brandeis University, where he was a Leonard Bernstein Music Fellow and recipient of the Coffey Award and Fisher Prize, and with Norman Fischer at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Jacob has collaborated with the Silk Road Ensemble, and has been featured in concert series around the world, including Classical Impromptu in Key West and the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. Currently, he is a member of the New Bedford Symphony and performs regularly with the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Jacob has also served on the faculty of the Worcester Chamber Music Society’s Neighborhood Strings, Salve Regina University, St. George’s School, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School.

“Apple Hill has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Jacob remarked. “As a student, I would look forward all year to driving up that dirt road on a hot summer day, knowing I was about to spend ten days playing chamber music with some of the greatest people in the world. Now seventeen years after my first summer as a participant, the thought of joining the Apple Hill String Quartet is completely mind-blowing. I feel so lucky to join this remarkable organization and can’t wait for all the wonderful music-making to come.”

Formed in 2008, the Apple Hill String Quartet is the ensemble in residence and co-artistic directors at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. Recipients of the Ewing Arts Award from the Keene Sentinel and Arts Alive, the AHSQ leads Apple Hill’s mission to perform, teach, and broaden the appreciation of chamber music—cultivating connection and understanding among people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, playing levels, and ages through music performance.

“Jacob is a brilliant cellist, a generous teacher, and knows Apple Hill from the inside out after attending the Summer Chamber Music Workshop for so many years, first as a student, then as a coach and now as our resident cellist,” said AHSQ violist Mike Kelley. “The Apple Hill String Quartet is thrilled to welcome Jacob as our newest colleague.”

The AHSQ will be leading Apple Hill’s 53rd annual chamber music workshop this summer, releasing a new recording of the Frank Bridge and César Franck piano quintets with pianist Sally Pinkas later this year, and touring the west coast in early 2025. Learn more about the Apple Hill String Quartet here.

We are honored to welcome Jacob MacKay to the AHSQ and are eager to embark on this next chapter for Apple Hill.



Javier Caballero

Executive Director