Tesla Quartet

Tesla Quartet: Rising Tides

Sunday, May 7, 2023 . 3PM

Event Attributes

Presented By


For more information regarding accessible accommodations, please click here.

Join us in person at The Clarice! Please note that this performance will not be livestreamed.

The waters of the Chesapeake Bay are the lifeblood of the region, supporting not only the lives of millions of Americans, but countless species of flora and fauna. Global sea levels rise resulting from climate change means that soon, the land and seascape of the Chesapeake Bay will be dramatically altered. Two new string quartets by Alexandra Gardner and Adrian B. Sims, commissioned by The Clarice, aim to address the issues facing the inhabitants of the region, from habitat loss to disruptions of the fabric of everyday life.

The program opens with Drops and Ripples, a brief quartet by Tatar composer Adeliia Faizullina, which the Tesla Quartet commissioned in 2020. The work comprises a series of episodes whose musical material precipitates from a single pizzicato, like the first drops of water in a mountain stream that are destined for the ocean.

A new quartet by Alexandra Gardner focuses on fast-disappearing Hooper’s Island in south Dorchester County, Md. Once a bustling fishery, the island and surrounding areas are being overtaken by the water that once sustained them. Gardner explores musical ideas such as gestures like waves—that rise and reach a crest, then pull away—and of material that begins complete and that gets stripped away into a single line. Sea chanteys sung by Black fishermen on the Chesapeake in the 19th and 20th centuries are also lightly referenced.

The second commissioned work, by Adrian B. Sims, explores themes of serenity, destruction and hope. The work begins calmly, representing the breathtaking scenery. This peaceful introduction is then disrupted by natural and man-made phenomena, creating dissonance in both the music and the environment. The music ends with a vision for the future—a vision of hope that we will treat our environment more kindly going forward.

The program closes with Caroline Shaw’s The Evergreen, a reflective work that considers the enormous age and beauty of nature as embodied in a scraggly, moss-covered forest pine. The music offers a meditation on the complexity and interconnectedness of beings of the natural world.

Audiences will have the opportunity to experience this music in two ways. The hybrid premiere will be both live and in augmented reality, where viewers can experience the commissioned works in uniquely curated 360° virtual environments. There will also be a Walking Concert with various movements of the quartets and their 360° environments geolocated around the University of Maryland campus.

This event is part of the Visiting Artist Series. The Clarice's Visiting Artist Series features regional, national and international artists who visit the University of Maryland for performances and other activities. Beyond the stunning work these artists bring to the stage, they are also committed to extensive engagement that creates exciting connections with students and the community. During their time at UMD, Tesla Quartet will have engaged in:

  • Activities as part of Maryland Day 2023
  • Masterclasses with UMD School of Music students
  • A Composer Reading of works by UMD School of Music student composers


This performance is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.



Health + Safety

Patrons attending University of Maryland arts events are no longer required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. We continue to encourage audiences to wear a mask and stay current with vaccinations and boosters. Please see our Health & Safety information page for information about what to expect during your visit.