Margaret Partridge, Director
Music, especially playing with others, has been one of the most rewarding things in my life and I am very keen for all young people to have the opportunities I have had. I think it is vitally important for children to see children who look like them, playing classical music.
Margaret brings her wealth of experience as the former Executive Director of the Philharmonic Association (2005 -2020) to United Strings of Color. During her tenure, the non-profit Philharmonic Association tripled in the size of its programming and budget. She began United Strings of Color in 2018 as a project to address racial disparity in classical music. Knowing the importance of this work, she continued to direct United Strings of Color after she stepped down as Executive Director of the Philharmonic Association in June 2020. Margaret is a respected freelance violinist, having served as Concertmaster for the Carolina Ballet, Capital Opera, North Carolina Opera, Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, Tar River Orchestra, North Carolina Master Chorale and Durham Chorale. From 1990 – 2006 she performed regularly with the North Carolina Symphony and currently plays with the North Carolina Opera and the Carolina Ballet. She has taught violin at Huddersfield Technical College (England), Arkansas Tech University and Hendrix College.
Tristen Johnson has taken part in the Sphinx Performance Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music and gained experience at the Curtis Institute of Music and Vivace Music Festival, allowing him to appear in masterclasses with Peter Wiley, of the Curtis Institute of Music, and Astrid Schween, of the Juilliard School.
Tristen began his cello studies at age 12 in a middle school orchestra. Having been a member of the National Youth Orchestra-USA 2021, and NYO-USA’s 2022 European tour, he has been able to work under the baton of Daniel Harding and mentor: Carlos Miguel Prieto.
Tristen has taken home first prizes in competitions such as the North Carolina Symphony Concerto Competition and Triangle Youth Philharmonic Concerto Competition. As a chamber musician, his Duo-partnership is sponsored by the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute.
Currently, a student of Nathaniel Yaffe, of the North Carolina Symphony, Tristen also receives private instruction from Camden Shaw, cellist of the Dover Quartet. He plays an instrument by Kelvin W.M. Scott made in 2022.