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?!)



Photo by SnoStudios

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY: Renée, Musician, via the (Un)Scientific Method

PURPOSE: To use the violin (viola/cello) as an external, physical, creative tool to interact with the self, other musicians, and audience members, with the goal of unearthing personal truths and strengthening interpersonal connections by sharing common emotional experiences.


I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin. - Albert Einstein

Music begins where the possibilities of language end. - Jean Sibelius

HYPOTHESIS: That by maximizing time spent playing violin/viola (especially solo & chamber), music will become my most efficient, effective, and meaningful mode of communication with both my inner self and with other people.


  • grew up in Los Alamos; graduated in 2007 with J. Robert Oppenheimer scholarship

  • earned Bachelors’ in violin performance under Dr. Cármelo de los Santos at UNM

  • earned Masters’ in violin performance under Emanuel Borok; baroque violin under Cynthia Roberts at the University of North Texas

  • studied with Paul Kantor for 4 years at the Aspen Music Festival

  • taught, taught, still teaching [at Parlando School of Musical Arts]

  • founded Ajax Quartet & became graduate String-Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado (currently) under the renowned Takacs Quartet; won silver medal at the Coltman Chamber Competition, were finalists in Chesapeake Bay Competition, and were selected to attend Fresh Inc. Festival & Aspen Music Festival Advanced Quartet Studies program during summer of 2018

  • became principal viola of the Boulder Bach Festival (current)

  • became violinist of B.A.D. Ensemble (current), an all new-music Pierrot ensemble under the direction of Pulitzer finalist & composer Carter Pann

  • near completion of Artist Diploma in Advanced Quartet Studies (2019) and Doctorate in violin performance (2020) at the University of Colorado Boulder


  • Each year of my life, I have felt more gratitude for the violin as the primary medium for my personal thriving

  • Performing has brought me closer to exponentially more people than would have been possible without it

  • Music has given me cumulative and accelerating joy: this joy constructively interferes with itself, as my musical pursuits facilitate closer interactions with others who experience the same life-enriching effect


Each day I move toward that which I do not understand. The result is a continuous accidental learning which constantly shapes my life. - Yo Yo Ma

We do not yet know all the basic laws: there is an expanding frontier of ignorance. - Richard Feynman

I believe humans struggle with understanding themselves, the world, and one another. Human emotions and truths entail complexity so mysterious, dynamic, and expanding that some of us wish to dedicate our lives to interacting with our “expanding frontier of ignorance” through music, and hope to increase pleasure, meaning, honesty, and community in the world to all who encounter our music along the way.

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)