String Quartet

Congratulations Tesla Quartet

2017 John Lad Prize

12th Banff International String Quartet Competition  - 2nd Place

Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them.

Nikola Tesla

These words are the inspiration behind the Tesla Quartet’s vision. For us, music is the conduit for this incredible, binding force. Through performance, teaching and outreach we strive to tap into this palpable feeling and create meaningful connections with our audience.

Praised for their “superb capacity to find the inner heart of everything they play, regardless of era, style or technical demand” (The International Review of Music), the Tesla Quartet brings refinement and prowess to both new and established repertoire. Dubbed “technically superb” by The Strad, the Tesla Quartet recently took Second Prize as well as the Haydn Prize and Canadian Commission Prize at the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition and the 2017 John Lad Prize. The quartet has also garnered top prizes at numerous other international competitions, including the Gold Medal at the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Third Prize and the Best Interpretation of the Commissioned Work at the 6th International Joseph Haydn Chamber Music Competition in Vienna, and Third Prize at the 2012 London International String Quartet Competition. The London Evening Standard called their rendition of the Debussy Quartet “a subtly coloured performance that balanced confidently between intimacy and extraversion.”

In addition to their residency with the Hickory Metro String Residency program which includes performances and workshops at local colleges, universities, and in the public school system, as well as a dedicated chamber music series, they also recently completed their tenure as the Marjorie Young Bell String Quartet-in-Residence at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada. The quartet performs regularly across North America, with recent international appearances in London, Vienna, Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul. The 2017-18 season includes debut performances in Germany and Hungary, concerts across America, and a residency with the Quad City Visiting Artist Series.

Community involvement and outreach are integral parts of the Tesla Quartet’s mission, and the group has brought inspiring music to children’s hospitals, soup kitchens, libraries, retirement communities, and schools. In addition to their current work in North Carolina, the ensemble spent three years in partnership with the Aspen Music Festival’s Musical Odysseys Reaching Everyone program (M.O.R.E), providing lessons, master classes, workshops, and performances for young string players. The Quartet has also provided community enrichment programs to the Steamboat Springs and Craig, CO communities as Quartet-in-Residence at the Strings Music Festival, and coached a chamber music program in conjunction with the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras.

The Tesla Quartet was formed at The Juilliard School in 2008 and quickly established itself as one of the most promising young ensembles in New York, winning Second Prize at the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition only a few months after its inception. From 2009 to 2012 the quartet held a fellowship as the Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where they studied with the world-renowned Takács Quartet. They have also held fellowships at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival’s Center for Advanced Quartet Studies.

The Tesla Quartet is Ross Snyder (violin), Michelle Lie (violin), Edwin Kaplan (viola), and Serafim Smigelskiy (cello).


Ross Snyder, violin

An avid chamber musician, Ross Snyder is the founding first violinist of the Tesla Quartet, which formed at the Juilliard School in 2008 and recently completed its tenure as the Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Recent prizes of the Tesla Quartet include the Gold Medal at the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and Third Prize at the 2012 Wigmore Hall London International String Quartet Competition. A fellow of the 2007 and 2011 Norfolk Chamber Music Festivals, he began studying chamber music with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at age twelve, and at age sixteen he and three of his colleagues formed the Callisto String Quartet. For three years the CSQ performed outreach concerts at various venues in Pittsburgh.  Ross has also studied with members of such world-renowned ensembles as the Borromeo, Guarneri, Juilliard, Miró, St. Lawrence, Takács, Tokyo and Vermeer string quartets.

A versatile performer, Ross has served as principal violinist with the Boulder Bach Festival and recently performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra.  In March, 2008, Ross won Second Prize in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition. He is also a first prize winner of the Dorothy J. Bales ’41 Violin Competition at the New England Conservatory and was awarded the use of a violin by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume. Other competitions include participation in the 2005 Concours International de Violon Jacques Thibaud in Paris, France.

Ross’s extensive orchestral experience began age ten, when he joined various youth orchestras in the Pittsburgh area. Later orchestral projects include performances at Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He spent the summer of 2008 serving as an assistant concertmaster of the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland and also participated in the VFO’s 2008 European tour to Milan, Luzern, Berlin, and Madrid. During his studies at Juilliard he served as one of the leaders of the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra, and he toured China with the Juilliard Orchestra in 2008.

Having recently received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Ross received his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Joel Smirnoff.  He received his undergraduate degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied with Malcolm Lowe.

Ross plays on a violin by Joseph Rashid from 1937 thanks to a generous loan from the Joseph Rashid Foundation.

Edwin Kaplan, viola

Violinist of the award-winning Tesla Quartet, Edwin Kaplin continues to forge a versatile identity as a recitalist, chamber musician, and educator. He has performed on concert series across North America, Europe and Asia, including the Wigmore Hall in London, Festival Mosaic in San Luis Obispo, the La Jolla Chamber Music Society, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., Tanglewood, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, and with the Burlington Ensemble of Vermont. He has collaborated with such esteemed artists as Paul Coletti, Lawrence Dutton, Alexander Fiterstein, Vadym Kholodenko, Richard O'Neill, Mark Kaplan, and the American String Quartet. Recent engagements with the Tesla Quartet took him on a tour of Germany and Hungary where he performed at the Esterházt palace at which Haydn lived and worked.


Pushing his boundaries beyond the traditional repertoire, Edwin is equally at home in new music, having participated in numerous premieres, including Andy Akiho's LIgNEouS and Zosha Di Castri's String Quartet no. 1. In 2013, he performed a unique arrangement of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for amplified string quartet and voice at Los Angeles' Levitt Pavilion to critical acclaim. In addition, one of Edwin's favorite projects is his quartet's annual call for scores for which he combs through hundreds of recently composed string quartets submitted by composers from all over the world.

Edwin is proud to serve his community as an advocate for music education. He is on the faculty of the Thurnauer School of Music, directed by Dorothy Roffman, where he instructs arts-focused teenagers in violin and viola performance. Through his work at Thurnauer, as well as with the Tesla Quartet, Edwin performs outreach at community primary schools and has given master classes at universities in Georgia and Missouri. Edwin believes strongly in music education at all levels and has even participated in adult amateur chamber music workshops at Kneisel Hall in Blue Hill, ME, where he has brought in-depth coaching and musical training to adults for whom music is a passion and hobby.

Edwin holds a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma from the Yale University School of Music, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Lawrence Dutton.


Michelle Lie, violin

As an active performer in comprehensive musical genres, Michelle has been featured in diverse performances throughout the country. Currently a violinist with the Tesla Quartet, she was a founding member of the Iannis String Quartet and received the Special Recognition award from the Plowman Chamber Music Competition in 2008. She has performed as first violinist with Aeolus String Quartet (Silver Medal winner of Fischoff Competition 2011) during its residency at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in the summer of 2010. Her other chamber music festival appearances include two fellowships at the Norfolk Yale Chamber Music Festival, Perlman Music Program, St. Lawrence String quartet seminar, and Sunflower Music Festival. Her particular interest in chamber music was greatly influenced by such world-renowned ensembles as the Tackács Quartet, Tokyo String Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Miró Quartet, Artis Quartet, and Brentano String Quartet.

Although her musical education in violin started at the age of 14 from the influence of her vocalist father, she was quickly recognized through various performances and awards. 1st prize winner of the 250th Anniversary of J.S. Bach Violin Competition in Seoul, 2nd Prize winner and Audience choice of the Ekstrand Competition 2012 she was featured as a soloist with various orchestras in South Korea and the United States. Also, recently Michelle received the Mrs. Hong Pham recognition award from Indiana University to celebrate her active role in premiering modern works. Known for her in-depth musical projects, Michelle performed a complete Beethoven Violin Sonata cycle in Kansas City in June, 2011. She also was featured at the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) conference at the University of Florida in 2011 as well as the Schumann Society in Indiana in 2010. As an orchestral performer, she has appeared as a substitute with the Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall and on tour in Carnegie Hall 2006 - 2010. She has held concertmaster positions at various orchestras in Indiana, Ohio and Colorado at the Boulder Symphony Orchestra.

Michelle received her Bachelor’s Degree from Dankook University, where she studied with Deashik Kang, and her Master’s Degree from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Eric Rosenblith. She also holds a Professional Studies certificate from the Cleveland Institute of Music with William Preucil. While she is performing with the Tesla Quartet, Michelle received her Doctor of Music Degree in 2013 with Mark Kaplan at Indiana University, where she was an Associate Violin Performance Instructor 2008.

Serafim Smigelskiy, cello

Serafim Smigelskiy has established himself as one of today's most promising young cellists. He has appeared as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra, Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra, Jupiter Chamber Players, Argento Chamber Ensemble, ArsViva Strings Orchestra, Axiom contemporary music ensemble, Dal Niente and Quartet Accordia. Serafim is currently touring as a member of the critically acclaimed Tesla Quartet.


Inspired by contemporary art, Serafim performs a wide repertoire of modern music and collaborates with ensembles in new music. Working directly with such composers as Magnus Lindberg, Steve Reich, and Matthias Pintscher has led to performances of their music at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Lincoln Center, Harvard University’s Radcliff Hall, Moscow Philharmonic Hall, and others. Serafim also has a keen interest in historic performance practice and has studied Baroque cello with Bruno Cocset of the Jordi Savall ensemble. From 2003, he was a member of the New Holland Baroque Ensemble in St. Petersburg, which he joined for numerous concerts, radio broadcasts and tours. He has studied and collaborated with such prominent musicians as Mstislav Rostropovich, Natalia Gutman, Laurence Lesser, Colin Carr, Martin Storey, Richard Aaron, Eric Rosenblith, Ben Sayevich, Stanislav Ioudenitch, William Grant Naboré, Vassily Sinaisky, Julius Berger, Alban Gerhardt, Giya Kancheli, Alexey Liubimov, Daniel Müller-Schott, Nicholas Kitchen, Peter Stump and many others.

Born in 1985 in St. Petersburg, Russia, he began his cello studies at the age of 6 with Galina Korolyóva. At 15, he entered the Rimsky-Korsakov College where he was a student of Konstantin Kucherov. During this period, he received several awards from international competitions and foundations, including First Prize in the Russian State's Russian Music Competition, Third Prize in the International Mravinsky Cello Competition, and Second Prize in the Mussorgsky String Competition. In 2004, he entered the St. Petersburg State Conservatory, where he studied with Alexey Massarsky. During that period, he also studied with Alexander Richter of the Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic String Quartet and Josif Levinson of the Taneyev String Quartet. Serafim was also a cellist with the eminent Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet, chamber orchestra Divertissement, and the St. Petersburg Soloists artist management organization. Before moving to New York City in 2010, he received the Graduate Certificate at Park University International Center for Music where he was student of Martin Storey. Serafim holds a Master's of Music degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Richard Aaron (cello) and Sylvia Rosenberg (chamber music).

His other interests include photography, reading, and traveling.