Fine Arts STUdents Have Their Compositions Performed by Saint John String Quartet

Students in the Fine Arts Chamber Music class once again had the opportunity to see and hear their compositions performed—this year, virtually—by one of Canada’s leading chamber music ensembles.


Throughout the course, students arranged and composed their own piece which was then performed on video by violinists David Adams and Danielle Sametz, violist Christopher Buckley, and cellist Sonja Adams of the Saint John String Quartet.




These sketch readings—which are typically done in-person with the Chamber Music class—are part of a longstanding partnership between the university and Symphony New Brunswick.


“Very few of my compositions ever leave my composition folder for others to hear, let alone perform, “said fourth-year STUdent John Knox. “It’s always kind of scary to have life breathed into something I’ve created because there’s always the possibility that it doesn’t turn out how I intended.”


The quartet got together to film their performance of each student’s composition and provided their thoughts and feedback in a video that was shared with the class—an exercise professor Dr. Martin Kutnowski, Director of Fine Arts, said is invaluable.


“Having your composition performed by a state-of-the-art chamber ensemble is an absolute thrill, but also useful to detect and correct mistakes, improving one’s compositional technique,” he said. “Everyone learns and everyone wins.”


Knox agreed.


“I found it useful to have other musicians explore some nuances I hadn’t considered,” he said.  “The feedback given through the interpretation and performance of the Saint John String Quartet was as valuable as the explicit feedback given between sketches—both as a student trying to put my best work forward and learn from professionals in the industry, and as a composer always looking for new ideas and inspiration.”


The activity is a highlight for the Saint John String Quartet, who work regularly with Kutnowski and his students.


“This is one of our favourite things we get to do. Every piece has its own thing and we perform each as best we can,” said violist Christopher Buckley. “You can’t write music if you don’t write music. We look forward to another set of offerings from these composers”