The Tetra String Quartet is redefining the role of chamber music in today’s society. With relevance and versatility at the forefront of their mission, Tetra performs with the goal of connecting with all audiences. As both educators and performers, the quartet has toured throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. Invested in their home state of Arizona, Tetra became a 501(c)(3) non profit organization to create more opportunities that link performance with public service. Their strong local presence engages audiences from every corner of the community, and reflects their belief that access to the arts is an essential human right.
Tetra’s ongoing projects expand access to the community by putting music where it’s not. In 2015, Tetra created the Phoenix chapter of Azure Family Concerts. These free events are fun, friendly, and engaging performances tailored to those on the autism spectrum or with similar challenges. In an effort to further connect with diverse populations, the quartet regularly performs at memory care and assisted living facilities, the Phoenix VA Hospital, and Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Centers. Tetra has been invited to share the impact of their work at events including TEDx Arrowhead Ranch “Act Today, Change Tomorrow”, and Stanford University’s Summer Arts Institute, “Why Music Matters”.
Equally at home in the classroom as on stage, the quartet has performed assemblies for thousands of K-12 students. Their programs are designed to enhance existing curriculums and introduce active listening to ignite curiosity and reflection. Beyond these presentations, Tetra maintains several chamber music residency projects with area high schools and has been annually awarded the City of Tempe Arts Grant since 2013. Their C.A.M.P curriculum (Communication, Awareness, Musicianship, Personal Responsibility) is an innovative system designed to implement chamber music skills in the orchestral classroom. Tetra’s summer chamber music workshops expand on these C.A.M.P. principles and allow students to understand how playing chamber music promotes empathy, teamwork, and self-directed learning. In 2014 & 2015, the quartet was selected to present sessions on their curriculum and musical entrepreneurship at the American String Teacher’s Association National Conference.
As Teaching Artists, Tetra has partnered with Arizona Musicfest, Phoenix Chamber Music Society, SOUNDS Academy, West Valley Arts Council, Young Audiences, and the Musical Instrument Museum. Formed in 2010, they chose the name “tetra” after the Latin word meaning four, imagining the power of four individuals uniting in the spirit of change, creativity and collaboration..
Our Mission in Action
Watch our TedxArrowheadRanch talk, "Instrumenting Change"!
Chrystal Smothers, Violin
Hometown: Ferndale, MI
Education: Ohio University and Arizona State University (B.M.)
Favorite Tetra Memory: I always have such a great time when we play side-by-side with young musicians. We’ve collaborated with string players from grades 5 through 12, and each student brings wonderful energy and curiosity to rehearsal. The audience reaction to this has been overwhelmingly joyful; what an incredible way to bring people together!
Guilty Pleasure: Coffee and Television
Heidi Wright, Violin
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
Education: Northern Arizona University (B.M.), University of Arizona (M.M., M.ED.), and Arizona State University (M.M.)
Favorite Tetra Memory: Early on in our career we had the chance to attend a music festival in Brazil. The warmth of the people and their excitement about music really inspired us. In every concert the audience treated the performers like rock stars, cheering wildly on their feet. We were excited to recreate the same energy in our concerts back home.
Guilty Pleasure: Going to movies by herself
Louis Privitera, Viola
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Education: Arizona State University (B.M.), Peabody Conservatory (M.M.)
Favorite Tetra Memory: Residency projects are always my favorite Tetra activity because of the relationships we cultivate with the communities we are playing for. Our work with Young Audiences in Nogales, AZ is particularly special because through multiple visits we’ve had the chance to play for over 3,000 students. Schools in Nogales are typically void of many arts programs, so having the chance to bring music to children who are not typically exposed to is a very rewarding experience.
Guilty Pleasure: Boneless Buffalo Wings and Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby
Jenna Dalbey, Cello
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Education: Arizona State University (B.M. and D.M.A.) and University of Maryland (M.M.)
Favorite Tetra Memory: My favorite performance experience was when Tetra visited a prison in Cleveland, Texas in 2011. The prisoners were engaged throughout our performance, which included having them sing and dance! It was incredibly rewarding to play for these individuals who had not heard live music in many years. We were overwhelmed by their sincerity and gratitude.
Guilty Pleasure: Tea and Chocolate Cake