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4/1/2013 12:50:00 PM
Tetra String Quartet closes season for VVCA
The Tetra String Quartet
The Tetra String Quartet
By Merlyn Brown
Verde Valley Concert Assn.

The final concert of the Verde Valley Concert Association season brings the Tetra String Quartet to the stage of the Mingus Union High School auditorium on Saturday, April 6, 7 p.m.

Hailed for their "engaging and energetic performances" and the "ability to master music of any style or genre," the Tetra String Quartet continues to captivate audiences throughout the country and abroad. As advocates of chamber music, Tetra strives to make performance experiences relevant for any listener, by sharing music of all kinds in both new and traditional venues. Most recently, the quartet embarked on a 10-day concert tour of Ecuador where they presented a series concerts and master classes in the cities of Quito, Loja, and Cuenca.

Passionate educators, the members of Tetra are faculty associates at Arizona State University where they teach the course "Chamber Music for Non-Majors."

The foursome consists of Chrystal Smothers, Heidi Wright, Louis Privitera and Jenna Dalbey. Recently, through collaboration with ASU's Visiting Quartet Residency program, Tetra paired up with the acclaimed Brentano String Quartet in creating a workshop unlocking the secrets of Bartok's String Quartet No. 1 for hundreds of Arizona high school students. Brentano's cellist, Nina Lee, stated "When I think about the future of classical music, the Tetra String Quartet gives me hope for a future filled with enthusiastic young listeners! Their dedication and energy is truly inspired. We should all be so lucky to have these educators be a part of our community."

Recent engagements have found the Tetra String Quartet on tour throughout the U.S. and beyond, including California, Nebraska, Texas and Brazil. In 2011, they were named "Artists in Residence" for the Texas-based Music Bus Tour, which facilitated a number of memorable performances, including concerts in the Alamo shrine and the Cleveland Correctional Facility.

Also passionate about creating a musical presence in their own community of Phoenix, the Tetra String Quartet has been seen performing at Arizona State University, t he Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Arizona School for the Arts, FilmBar and the Musical Instrument Museum.

For Chrystal Smothers, the seeds of chamber music were planted early -- as a founding member of the Etcetera String Quartet during her eighth grade year. Her development as a violinist continued as she went on to pursue a Bachelor's degree in violin performance: first at Ohio University with Stephen Boe and later at Arizona State University with Danwen Jiang.

An enthusiastic teacher, Chrystal maintains a bustling private studio that spans the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area. She is also on faculty at Rosie's House, A Music Academy for Children.

As a performer, Chrystal made her international solo debut in Salzburg, Austria with the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra on their 1998 European tour. Additionally, she has participated in workshops and masterclasses with Arnold Steinhardt and the Julliard, Shanghai, Brentano, and Chiara String Quartets.

Heidi Wright is a native of Mesa, Arizona, where she falls second in a family of 10 children. She discovered a love for music at an early age as she and her brothers made the weekly trek to the neighbor's house for piano lessons. She began playing the violin soon after and eventually joined the school harp program as well.

She has earned degrees from all the Arizona Universities including master's degrees in performance, pedagogy, and education. She has performed with major orchestras throughout Arizona, and has participated in several summer music festivals across the country. She was not far into her education before she realized her inclination towards string quartet playing. She is grateful for the opportunities she has had to study with the Tokyo, Shanghai, St Lawrence, and Chiara string quartets.

Heidi has a strong passion for teaching and has taught in Suzuki schools, community music programs, and public schools all over Arizona for the last 8 years. A closet math geek, she spent a year teaching junior high students Geometry and Algebra. Currently, she enjoys teaching private harp and violin lessons and performing and teaching with the Tetra String Quartet.

Known for his versatility as a violist, Louis Privitera maintains a balanced career as both a chamber musician and educator. Having grown up in Phoenix, Louis attended Arizona State University where he completed a Bachelor's degree in viola performance. Upon graduating, Louis flew the Phoenix coop and made his way to Baltimore, Maryland where he earned a Master's in performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 2010. Louis remained in high demand as a performer in both Arizona and Maryland, having played with The Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix Opera, The Mid-Atlantic Symphony and the Bel Cantanti Opera orchestra.

Additionally, Louis had the opportunity to publish an article for the Summer 2006 American Viola Society Journal, recounting his experience at the 34th International Viola Congress in Montreal, Canada.

Louis currently maintains a private studio and is the Instructor of Viola Studies at Arizona School for the Arts. With tetra, Louis is also given the chance to further connect with students through their outreach program in elementary school classrooms throughout the Phoenix area. Louis has also participated in master classes and workshops with the Chiara, Brentano, St. Lawrence, and Juilliard String Quartets.

Jenna Dalbey has been playing cello for over 15 years and is originally from Columbus, Ohio She is currently working on her Doctorate from Arizona State University in cello performance while establishing a career as an educator and performer in the Phoenix area. She is on faculty at Scottsdale Community College, Rosie's House: A Music Academy for Children, and she is a Cello Teaching Assistant at ASU. In addition, she maintains a private studio of many wonderful up and coming cellists.

While working on her Masters at the University of Maryland, she studied closely with the Guarnari String quartet and made an appearance with the Verge ensemble on the Library of Congress concert series. She has also worked with the Chiara, St. Lawrence, Kronos, and Juilliard String Quartets.

Tickets for this final concert are $15 for adults, $5 for students 18 and under, with children under 12 being admitted free of charge. For more information and advance tickets, please call 928-639-0636.

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