LAAC Offers Chamber Music To Connect Community

The Apple Hill String Quartet will hold a master class and concert March 22 in Fuller Lodge. The Los Alamos Arts Council is sponsoring the event. Courtesy photo

Los Alamos Arts Council Executive Director

What is the Great Connector of people in Los Alamos (beside science)? Music! Yes, especially classical chamber music!

Back in the 70’s, there was a gathering of string players in my mother’s living room, enthusiastically sawing away at the music of Haydn (a string quartet, if my memory serves well) and, while the melodies were clear and bright from the violins and cello, there were raucous squeaks and squawks from the violist.

As I entered the adjacent room, I just had to inquire with my father, who was sitting at the dinner table trying not to listen; “Who IS that man playing the viola!?”

My father, who had worked at the Lab for about 24 years at that point, said, “Shhhhh, now don’t make a fuss!” (It was well known in my family that I was concerned about nuclear proliferation.) “I don’t want you to cause a scene,” he said, to which I retorted; “What? Why do you say that? I’m only curious about the playing of the violist.”

My father took me aside and quietly said, “That’s Edward Teller.”


Edward Teller

“THE Edward Teller?! The Father of the H-Bomb is in our living room, playing viola!?” I couldn’t believe it, but sure enough, it was he! Well, I held my breath, closed my ears, and sequestered myself to a back-room for the rest of the evening.

My mother was especially keen on chamber music. There were gatherings almost every week in our home, and though the “creative” sounds were not always inspiring renditions, the enthusiasm for playing and socializing over swirling music passages was ever-so compelling.

During this time, I learned a great deal about how important playing chamber music is for the community. It provides a (another?) creative outlet, and is a “social glue” that encourages the community to engage, grow close, and survive the demands of the day job.

In March, filling the concert hall at Fuller Lodge with inspiring sounds, Los Alamos Arts Council will provide a very special social-glue-chamber-music experience. We are so grateful for the support from Serenata of Santa Fe to be able to present on March 22 the Apple Hill String Quartet, for a one-day residency. The Apple Hill String Quartet will inspire musical and social interaction by providing an open master class and a public concert.

Apple Hill will conduct a master class 3:30-5 p.m., where in a public forum, local high school and other musicians will be critiqued and guided towards expressive communication. Then, at 7 p.m. the Quartet will present a concert program of music composed by Haydn, and Celso Garrido. Then special guest artist, Pamela Epple, oboist, will join the Quartet in Joan Tower’s evocative work, “Island Prelude” (1988).

Called “dashing and extraordinary” by The Strad magazine, the Apple Hill String Quartet has earned praise from around the world for its interpretive mastery of traditional repertoire, neglected masterpieces, and music from around the world. As resident musicians at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson, NH, the Quartet serves as the artistic curators and faculty for Apple Hill’s Summer Chamber Music Workshop. During the regular concert season, the quartet performs concerts and residencies around the globe.

The community invited for some musical inspiration and a good dose of “social glue” 3:30 p.m. March 22, open master class. A public concert will follow the master class at 7 p.m. and a reception afterwards.

All events will be at Fuller Lodge’s Pajarito Room. Tickets for the concert will be sold at the door. Please come early – a sold-out concert is anticipated or visit

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