Music bio

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 later important influences include Ellen Higham, John Ziarko, and Michael Zaretsky.

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 a professor of mathematics at Macalester College. Chad wrote his Harvard college entrance essay on viola jokes.

Other personal information

I have a husband of 19 years named Jude. In December of 2008, we adopted our amazing daughter Maya right after she was born. They are the joy of my life.


Also, we have a dog named Oakley. Make no mistake, he is more adorable than your dog.

I am quite serious about health and fitness, especially yoga. I hit the gym and/or the yoga studio almost every day.

I am totally obsessed with the Rachel Maddow Show.

I hungrily consume non-math books when I have the time, which is not as often as I’d like.

I have completed the first few units of the North Carolina EMT-B curriculum (way back when) but I never finished, and then I moved out of the state. I eventually hope to finish my training in Minnesota and become certified.