The world-reknowned Apple Hill String Quartet is known for its interpretive mastery of classical repertoire and original masterpieces of incorporating art and nature into its music. On Wednesday, April 3, The Apple Hill String Quartet performed in the Alumni Recital Hall at the Redfern Arts Center. Elise Kuder, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and The Juilliard School, was one of the two leading ladies who heartily played the violin alongside Sarah Kim.
Kim began her musical career at the tender age of three and has performed throughout America and Europe. Also on stage was Michael Kelley, a prize-winning violist at the Primrose International Viola Competition at 18 years old. Lastly, Rupert Thompson, a cellist who made his solo debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at 18 years old. As the lights dimmed among the audience, the focus was on the stage where all four performers graciously sat.
With perfect posture, the four faced each other in a close-knit circle. The quartet tweaked their instruments, positioned themselves accordingly and exquisitely began their first music piece. Each instrument was perfectly heard and provided a different sound, different texture to the overall piece by bouncing off of one another’s tone. Thompson’s cello, for the most part, set the backdrop of every piece due to its deep tone. While both violins played the highest pitch, the viola evenly balanced out the allocation between the violins and cello, making a perfect harmony. Christine Southworth, a professional composer who attended the concert, also introduced her song “Honey Flyers” to Apple Hill String Quartet the day of the concert. Southworth presented herself on stage before allowing the quartet to perform her song.“I just met the quartet today and they did a really great job on playing ‘Honey Flyers,’ and I know you all will enjoy it,” Southworth said.
With that being said, this piece turned out to be immensely appealing. Ever so faintly in the background of the quartet, the buzzing of bees emerged and softly buzzed along as a contextual beat. The aspect of the bees richly tangled the two features of music and nature into one captivating composition. This specific piece distributed a unique vibe during the concert because it was unlike all the other traditional pieces. As the concert proceeded, a string of guest performers took to the stage. Professor of Music at Keene State College Maura Glennon joined the quartet, chiming in on the piano to play a few songs. The piano added a soothing angle to the serene strings. The piano was not overpowering the quartet but instead effortlessly flowed with the music. Adding to the variety of musical instruments with a touch of voice was tenor Frank Kelley. Ringing in on the last few songs of the night, Kelley’s powerful vocal range ended the show with a bang.
Kelley is also known throughout the world for his astonishing opera singing in North America and Europe. Recently released recordings of his repertoire, spanning ten centuries, are available to purchase.
Even though they have performed numerous amounts of time, Rupert Thompson, who has been traveling the world and performing with his cello for years said, “I have been doing this for a long time and it never gets old. On stage it is always very special and emotional, the music speaks to the audience, and I am always looking forward to performing; it truly is tremendous.” With the Apple Hill String Quartet performing throughout the world such as Syria, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus, Armenia and England (to name a few), it was a great honor to have such world renown musicians come and share their music here at KSC.
Deanna Caruso can be contacted at