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Resident Quartet
New Dawn String Quartet

New Dawn String Quartet

The New Dawn String Quartet was founded in 2019 by the principal string players of Stratus Chamber Orchestra to help foster their love of chamber music.  Since its formation, New Dawn String Quartet has had a close relationship with Life/Art Dance Ensemble and has performed a wide variety of repertoire with Life/Art every year.  New Dawn String Quartet is made up of violinists, Arlette Aslanian-Townsend and Leah Quigley, violist Heidi Snider and cellist Adam Riggs

Individual Bios

Arlette Aslanian-Townsend has been the Concertmaster of the Stratus Chamber Orchestra (formerly called Music Sacra Chamber Orchestra) for over 20 years. During this time, she has gone on three European tours with the group and has soloed on countless occasions. She is also violinist in the New Dawn String Quartet, which consists of string Principals from Stratus. As an extremely active freelance violinist, she has played with numerous professional ensembles throughout the region. Some of the groups she’s played with are the Boulder Philharmonic, the Mercury Ensemble, the Fort Collins Symphony and the Denver Opera Company, to name just a few. Besides her many performing engagements, Mrs.Aslanian-Townsend maintains a large private violin and viola teaching studio in Denver, and is a long-time faculty member of Denver Talent Education, where she teaches orchestra and repertoire classes. She is a regular guest clinician at various institutes and workshops throughout the country and has judged many competitions. 


    Mrs. Aslanian-Townsend received her Master of Music degree from the University of Denver and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her primary teachers have been Harold Wippler, James Maurer, William Starr, Sally O’Reilly, Kevork Madirossian and Dinos Constantinides. Mrs. Aslanian-Townsend continues to further her education by regularly attending the Starling-Delay Symposium at Juilliard, International Suzuki conferences and local workshops.


    She is the past President of the Suzuki Association of Colorado and was the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas (SYOA) Coordinator at a Suzuki Association of the Americas International conference. Previously she worked for ten years with Boulder Suzuki Strings and had a two-year tenure as Musical Director at Cherry Creek High School. There she coached string quartets and conducted its two large orchestras. She has coached chamber music at Denver Talent Education, Boulder Suzuki Strings and many summer camps. At the University of Denver, her string quartet won the school-wide chamber music competition and was invited to open for the grammy award-winning Takes quartet. Mrs. Aslanian-Townsend was the first violinist and contractor for the Eine Kleine Quartet for over twenty years. 


    Besides music, her passions include traveling with her husband, ethnic cooking, hosting parties and playing with her cats “Hansel and Gretel.”

Leah Quigley grew up in a musical family and began violin at age 5 as a student of the Black Hills Suzuki School. Leah further developed her musical skills, by twice earning a position to study with the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Institute in Washington, D.C.  In addition, she attended several Suzuki and other strings camps throughout the country. While a sophomore in high school, Leah successfully competed in the Rapid City Young Artist competition and performed solo with the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, Leah earned a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and received the top honors of Instrumental Performance Award and the Academic Achievement Award from CUA’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music.


Leah has performed internationally, including concerts in Kraków, Poland for World Youth Day 2016, and in Prague, Czech Republic as a tribute to the prisoners of the Terezin Concentration Camp. She shares her talent while working for a non-profit organization which has given her the  opportunity to perform as a violinist and vocalist at large national conferences, co-produce the album “Origin," and perform at numerous events in a variety of settings. Leah has tracked violin on multiple albums, as well as played live with numerous bands.


Leah has long held a passion to teach violin and develop the talent of young violinists.  She holds a Suzuki Teaching Certificate from the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, and currently teaches in the Suzuki Violin methodology through the Primavera Place Suzuki School.


Leah grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, and now resides happily in Denver, Colorado.              

Heidi Snyder received her Bachelos’ degree in Music Performance - Viola from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1990.She is in her eighth season as Principal Violist for Stratus Chamber Orchestra and her ninth season as Principal Violist for the Arapahoe Philharmonic. In her tenure with these groups, she has enjoyed a performance tour in the Czech Republic, premiering works by living composers, debuting soloists, and collaborations with a variety of visual and performance artists.

Heidi is the violist in the New Dawn String Quartet. She also performs in a freelance capacity for local groups including Performance Now Theater Company, many churches and community orchestras.

She also teaches elementary and high school orchestras at St Mary’s Academy in Englewood, CO, and is the Middle School Strings Specialist for Littleton Public Schools. She has served as a section coach for district high school honors orchestras in Douglas County, Cherry Creek, and Aurora; and judged Colorado AllState auditions for several years.

While not teaching or performing, Heidi loves to hike, travel, and spend time with her husband, three children, and assortment of family pets.




Noted for his passionate and expressive playing, Dr. Adam Riggs is an avid chamber musician, teacher, and performer.  He has performed at music festivals across Canada, the United States, Italy, and the Czech Republic.  In addition to being the principal cellist of Stratus Chamber Orchestra, Adam regularly performs on as a sub with the Boulder Philharmonic, as well as with Colorado-based dance company, Life/Art Dance Ensemble.  He has been heard on CPR radio and was a guest soloist for the Western Springs School of Talent Education and Naperville Suzuki School's 35th Anniversary concert at the Chicago Symphony Center.  He has released two recordings including Jean Daniel Braun’s 5 Suites for Cello and “Pas de Cello” multitrack cello music for Ballet Classes. Adam is also Chair of Board and director and founder of the Colorado Cello Summit, an 501(c)3 organization dedicated to strengthening and connecting Colorado’s cello community.


An avid teacher, Adam completed his Suzuki Teacher Training in 2016 with Carol Tarr at the University of Denver and Rick Mooney at the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute.  He currently teaches at Silver Strings Academy in Westminster, while maintaining a robust private studio in Arvada.  Previously, he has taught for the Continuing Education Department at the University of Colorado, at Parlando School of Musical Arts, and coached chamber music and taught cello at several summer music camps/festivals including the University of Colorado’s Summer Music Academy program. Adam has been on the Board of the Suzuki Association of Colorado for the past 4 years serving as Treasurer, Scholarship Committee Chair and Webmaster


Adam began his cello studies at the age of four, and soon became a regular award winner at local and provincial competitions. He competed at the national level during his high school years before continuing his musical studies at University.  He holds a Bachelor of Music Honours Performance Degree and a Diploma in Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario), a Master of Music Performance degree from The Hartt School (Connecticut), and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Colorado Boulder.  His principal teachers include Sally Gross, Paul Pulford, Simon Fryer, Mihai Tetel and Judith Glyde.  He has also studied with András Fejér, Thomas Heinrich, Aldo Parisot and Shauna Rolston. Adam has also performed and worked with members of the Takacs, St. Lawrence, Emerson, Juilliard, Tokyo, and Penderecki String Quartets. 


In addition to his musical endeavors, Adam is owner and photographer at AR Pictures. To see his work, visit:


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