Equally at home playing Bartok and Broadway, Chicago native Chad Topaz first picked up a viola in 1984, three years after beginning his musical training on violin. Chad’s formative teachers include Carol Hall and Peter Slowik, who were pivotal in molding him into the passionate chamber musician and orchestra player he still is today. Chad earned an undergraduate degree at Harvard University, and influences during his college years include Ellen Higham, John Ziarko, and Michael Zaretsky. A believer in lifelong learning, Chad has recently studied with Matthew Williams and Cathy Basrak, and now, once again, Peter Slowik.
Currently a violist with the Berkshire Symphony and a recent participant in the Bennington Chamber Music Conference, Chad’s accomplishments include first prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and Harvard’s Horblitt Prize for Chamber Music. A member of numerous ensembles, his main associations have been as the violist of the Greenfield Quartet and the Millennium Quartet. Orchestrally, Chad has served as principal in such groups as the Bach Society Orchestra and the Lowell Opera Society. He has performed with the Boston Philharmonic and the St. Louis Philharmonic, in addition to maintaining an avid freelance presence in Boston at the time of his residence. Interested in connections between the musical and visual arts, Chad has enjoyed performing in museums including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Fogg Museum.
In Chad’s other life, he holds a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Northwestern University and is Professor of Mathematics at Williams College. Chad wrote his Harvard college entrance essay on viola jokes.