Renée Hemsing Patten
Renée Hemsing Patten
photo by Barbara Wolfe

photo by Barbara Wolfe


violin |vīəˈlin|

NOUN a stringed musical instrument of treble pitch, played with a horsehair bow.  It has four strings and a body of characteristic rounded shape, narrowed at the middle and with two f-shaped sound holes

ORIGIN  late 16th century: from Italian violino, diminutive of viola (what?!)


"For art has to leave reality, it has to raise itself bodily above necessity and neediness; for art is the daughter of freedom, and it requires its prescriptions and rules to be furnished by the necessity of spirits and not by that of matter. But in our day it is necessity, neediness, that prevails, and bends a degraded humanity under its iron yoke. Utility is the great idol of the time, to which all powers do homage and all subjects are subservient. In this great balance of utility, the spiritual service of art has no weight, and, deprived of all encouragement, it vanishes from the noisy Vanity Fair of our time. The very spirit of philosophical inquiry itself robs the imagination of one promise after another, and the frontiers of art are narrowed, in proportion as the limits of science are enlarged."

                          - Friedrich Schiller, On The Aesthetic Education of Man

Photo by SnoStudios

Renée Hemsing Patten is a violinist in the Ajax Quartet, graduate string Quartet-in-Residence at CU Boulder under Takacs Quartet. Since their recent formation in late 2016, Ajax Quartet quickly emerged on the young international quartet stage. Ajax had a successful season of tours and competitions in & outside the US, including recently winning silver medals at the Coltman Chamber Competition, were finalists in Chesapeake Bay Competition, and were selected to attend Fresh Inc. Festival & the prestigious Aspen Music Festival Advanced Quartet Studies program during the summer of 2018. She is currently a doctoral candidate in violin performance at CU Boulder and concurrently completing an Artist Diploma in Quartet Studies with Ajax.

Besides her passion for the quartet, Renée loves both early and modern music. Renée has performed in numerous professional orchestras and early music ensembles as a section player, concertmaster, and soloist throughout the US. In spring 2014, Renée was featured on the cover of Symphony Magazine. Upon moving to Colorado in Fall 2015, she began playing with the Boulder Philharmonic, and is a member & soloist with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra. Most recently, she appeared playing Cello da Spalla in Boulder Bach Ensemble, and was appointed violinist of the Boulder Altitude Directive (B.A.D., an all new-music Pierrot ensemble) under the direction of composer & Pulitzer finalist Carter Pann. 

Born in Los Alamos, NM, science & music equally held her affection until college, when Renée chose to pursue her bachelors' in Violin Performance from the University of New Mexico under renowned Brazilian violinist Cármelo de los Santos. She then moved to Texas to earn her Masters at University of North Texas in violin under Emanuel Borok, and baroque violin under Cynthia Roberts, in addition to studying with Paul Kantor & David Halen for four years at the Aspen Music Festival among other festivals. 

In addition to Suzuki teaching, Renée earned her certification as an Advanced Fiddle Teacher of the Mark O’Connor Method after studying with O’Connor in Manhattan by special invitation. She has taught violin, viola, and cello lessons for nearly 15 years, and plays primarily violin (classical & baroque). Renée established & directed the orchestra program at The Heritage School (Georgia) before moving to Boulder, CO. She has a full studio of private students and is currently on faculty at Parlando School of Musical Arts in Boulder.

Renée has been featured in violin master classes with Vadim Gluzman, Matt Albert, Stephen Rose, Peter Otto, Haroutune Bedelian, Augustine Hadelich, Frank Almond, and the Takacs & Miami String Quartets and has played under such conductors as David Zinman, Peter Oundjian, Leonard Slatkin, James de Priest, Jaap van Zweden, Michael Stern, David Robertson, Robert Spano, Andrey Boreyko, Thomas Søndergard, and Marin Alsop.

Grandma Mildred Hemsing (center) and her string quartet - Renée's inspiration & first teacher

Grandma Mildred Hemsing (center) and her string quartet - Renée's inspiration & first teacher

William and Mildred Hemsing lived in Alaska from 1929 until 1941, when they left because the war was coming. William had made a short wave radio and monitored the Japanese boats off the coast of AK and knew they were getting closer and closer, so he had decided to take his wife and 3 daughters away from the danger of war. William & Mildred were both teachers and got jobs as necessary. They ran a general store, post office, and the schools in different towns. They went to NY state for a while, then were stationed at Browning, Montana at the Blackfeet Indian reservation since they were still employed by the USIS--United States Indian Service--the name before BIA. They were there for about 5 years and 2 sons were born there at the Indian hospital. Then they were transferred to Santa Fe, New Mexico where for 10 years they were at the Santa Fe Indian School for the Pueblo Indians in the area. It was a boarding school and William was the principal. Then they were transferred to Rosebud, South Dakota for the Rosebud Reservation and the Sioux Indians. After a few years there for a few years they retired and moved back to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mildred, when she was there the first time, and again after returning, was a violin player with the Santa Fe Symphony orchestra and for part of the time, she was the concertmistress...        - Judy Hemsing Spurling Deist (daughter of Mildred)