Fairmount String Quartet performs with Guest Violist, Spencer Martin


Professor of Music Spencer Martin accompanied the Fairmount String Quartet in a recent performance on September 17. Photo courtesy of Decorah News.

On Saturday, September 17, Luther College welcomed the Fairmount String Quartet to the stage in the Noble Recital Hall. Joining the Fairmount Strings was Luther’s own Professor of Music Spencer Martin, playing viola.


The Fairmount String Quartet features Ramiro Miranda of Emporia State University on violin, as well as Timothy Jones, Catherine Consiglio, and Leonid Shukaev of Wichita State University on violin, viola and cello, respectively. The 90-minute performance included music from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johannes Brahms, and was free and open to the public.


Martin began the concert by thanking the audience for coming and expressed his delight to be playing with the quartet. Then, Martin and the rest of the quartet lifted their bows to play their first piece, “Mozart’s String Quintet in C Major, K. 515”. Julia Wendt (‘24) said that this piece stood out to her, especially the third movement titled “Andante”. 


“I really enjoyed ‘Andante’ the best [out] of the Mozart pieces,” Wendt said. “I heard about this event through [Assistant Professor of Music Adrianna Tam, and] I’m really glad I came.”


Following the Mozart piece and a brief intermission, the ensemble performed Brahms’ “String Quintet in G Major, Opus 111.” Jones was the lead violinist for the piece, and the first movement was Amy Webb’s (‘24) favorite part of the show.


“The energy they captured was amazing,” Webb said. “Honestly, with all the pieces, the musicality was amazing. They were so in sync, even breathing together.”


While at Luther, three musicians from the Fairmount Strings Quartet taught masterclasses for students studying cello, viola, and violin. Assistant Professor of Music Kacy Clopton was one of the faculty members who had students participate in a masterclass. She points to the importance of having these opportunities to learn from visiting artists, as well as from faculty musicians like Martin. 


“Several of my students were able to perform for [Shukaev], and I know they were eager and excited to absorb a great deal in that class,” Clopton said. “Then they got to come back a day later and see his outstanding performance with his colleagues. It’s so important that we see all of the ideas and sounds we work on in the practice room and studios brought to life in the concert hall.” 


Nobel Recital Hall will be hosting more music soon, with Professor of Music Xiao Hu performing on October 1, at 4 p.m., as part of the Faculty Artist Series.