Meet the UBC School of Music’s Quartet-in-Residence!

Somerset String Quartet

The University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Music is thrilled to introduce the Somerset String Quartet as its Resident Student Quartet for 2022-2023. The quartet-in-residence was founded in 2021 with generous support by the UBC President’s Office.

The Somerset String Quartet was formed in 2022. Its members, violinists Annis Lee and Yiyi Hsu, violist Alexander Beggs, and cellist Yiyang Xue, are avid chamber musicians, committed to deepening the appreciation for chamber music within the Vancouver community—proudly representing the UBC School of Music through outreach and performances during their residency. The quartet recently performed Brahms’ Piano Quintet for the School’s 75th Anniversary Celebration.

The Somerset String Quartet was selected for their expertise and commitment to the excellence of chamber music at the UBC School of Music. As ambassadors of our School, we know that they will reflect our core values to the university community and beyond. 

Meet the Somerset String Quartet

Annis Lee attended her first year of her Bachelor of Music degree on full scholarship at Baylor University studying with Patricia Shih, and is currently completing her degree at the UBC with Jasper Wood. Annis has won many awards, such as the Sharon Stevenson Career Development Award from the Langley Community Music School (LCMS) and second prize at the International Music Association Gloria Artis competition. In addition, Annis has had the wonderful opportunity to perform as soloist with the Fraser Valley Symphony. Also as an active chamber musician, Annis has won second prize at the FCMF National Music Competition with her piano trio and often coaches young chamber musicians at the LCMS.

Yiyi Hsu holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the UBC School of Music and will be completing the Artist Diploma in 2023. She has been a student of David Gillham for the past several years, studying both violin and chamber music. Yiyi is an avid chamber and orchestral musician. In addition to serving as concertmaster of the UBC Symphony Orchestra on several occasions, she was selected for the mentorship program at Vetta Chamber Music for the 2022/23 concert season.

Alexander Beggs is a Calgary-born, Vancouver-based violist currently completing his Bachelor of Music degree at UBC with Marina Thibeault. Alexander has performed across Canada, United States, Germany, Spain, and Scotland through his many engagements as an orchestral and chamber musician. He has won numerous scholarships from UBC and various other institutions. Most notably, he was a recipient of the 2022 Steppingstone award at the Domaine Forget Academy and the 2021 Award of Excellence from the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. He plays on a viola made for him by John Newton in 2014.

Yiyang Xue, is currently studying cello and working towards her Doctoral of Musical Arts at UBC with Eric Wilson. She studied her Bachelor’s degree at Sichuan Conservatory of Music and her Master’s degree at Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University.

The Somerset String Quartet will perform at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts’ new series, Inspired at the Chan, in March. The program traces the musical history of the chamber ensemble beginning with music from the “father of the string quartet,” Joseph Haydn, and ending with music from one of the most influential cultural powerhouses of our time, Disney. The program will also include Dvořák’s American Quartet, music by Shostakovich, and more.