Summer 2017 Artists

Ajax Quartet

Ajax Quartet

Ajax Quartet violinist Renée Hemsing Patten, a native of Los Alamos, New Mexico, earned her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of New Mexico under renowned Brazilian violinist Dr. Cármelo de los Santos. She earned her Masters at the University of North Texas in modern violin under Emanuel Borok, and baroque violin under Cynthia Roberts. Additionally, Renée studied extensively with Paul Kantor and David Halen, including during the Aspen Music Festival. Currently, Renée is a teaching assistant and doctoral violin candidate at the University of Colorado.

With years of experience in professional orchestras and early music ensembles across the US, Renée has performed with Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Orchestra & Chamber Ensemble, the New Mexico Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Plano Symphony, Dallas Chamber Symphony, and Columbus Symphony, and most recently, the Boulder Philharmonic and Boulder Chamber Orchestra. As a Colorado resident, Renée is concertmaster of the Flatirons Community Orchestra and associate concertmaster of the Boulder Symphony. 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 Fort Worth & 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. In Spring 2014, Renée was featured on the cover of Symphony Magazine.


Cellist of the Ajax Quartet Eric Haugen started playing the cello when he was 3 and a half years old. He studied under Sonja Connell in his hometown of Bemidji Minnesota from 1996-2008 before continuing under the tutelage of Peter Howard in Saint Paul. In 2014 Eric received his Bachelor’s degree in cello performance from The University of Michigan, where he studied with Richard Aaron. He is currently working towards his Master’s degree under David Requiro at the University of Colorado. Eric has performed numerous times with orchestras such as The Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and the Bismarck Mandan Symphony Orchestra.


Violist Mario Rivera holds a Graduate Teaching Assistant position at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he is pursuing his Master’s Degree and is also member of the Ajax Quartet. Mr. Rivera began his musical studies at the Victoriano Lopez Music School in his native Honduras, where he graduated with honors. After graduating he held a teaching position in viola studies at the Victoriano Lopez Music School and gained the title of Assistant Principal Violist of the San Pedro Sula Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Rivera has collaborated with many orchestras including the Honduras Philharmonic Orchestra, the Costa Rica National Symphony Orchestra, the Central America Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, and the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Rivera has appeared as Principal Viola with Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Boulder Chamber Orchestra. He has performed in more than twenty countries including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden. Conductors he has worked under include Valery Gergiev, Keith Lockhart, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Matthias Bamert, Benjamin Zander, Helmuth Rilling, and JoAnn Falletta in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, and Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Mr. Rivera has been active as a chamber music player since winning the second prize at the 2015 MTNA National Competition with the Columbus String Quartet. He has also collaborated with renown musicians such as Alexander Kobrin, William Preucil, Wendy Warner, Klauss Stoll, Sergiu Schwartz, Scott Rawls and Jonathan Spitz.

His most recent achievements include a Quartet Fellowship at the University of Colorado Boulder where the Ajax Quartet will have their residency for the next two years studying intensively with the renown Takacs Quartet. Mr. Rivera is currently a student of Erika Eckert and Geraldine Walther. He holds a degree in music education from the Victoriano Lopez Music School (Honduras) and a Bachelor's Degree in music performance from Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, Georgia.


Tom Yaron began studying the violin at the age of nine and made his solo debut in 2006 with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO). He served as concertmaster of the ensemble and together with the group, appeared on NPR’s Grammy-winning nationally syndicated radio show, “From the Top.” Tom appeared once again as soloist with PACO in 2010, touring the west coast of the United States before embarking on a multi-city five-concert tour of Turkey which culminated in a solo performance at the Hagia Irene in Istanbul as part of the Istanbul Youth Orchestra Festival.

In 2012, Tom was appointed as a violinist of the Young Artist String Quartet in residence at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He appeared with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra as the violin soloist of Piazzolla’s fiery Four Seasons of Buenos Aires during the orchestra’s 2014 season.

As an orchestral player, Tom served as the concertmaster of the Moritzburg Festival in Germany and the Sarasota Music Festival Orchestra, and as associate concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra and Fort Collins Symphony.

He has worked under the baton of such conductors as Lorin Maazel, Alan Gilbert, Itzhak Perlman, Pablo Heras Casado, Valery Gergiev, Gianandrea Noseda, Edward Gardner, Jaap van Zweden, and Essa Pekka Salonen.

His teachers include Jenny Rudin, Li Lin, Yuval Yaron, Catherine Cho, and Charles Wetherbee. Yaron holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School and is currently a violinist of the Ajax Quartet in residence at the University of Colorado at Boulder.