The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation. Its mission: bring every piece of music to the audience in vivid color, with pronounced communication and teamwork, and great respect to the composer. Since winning both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1992, the quartet has delighted audiences with its spontaneous, passionate, and dynamic performances. Alex Ross of The New Yorker magazine writes, "the St. Lawrence are remarkable not simply for the quality of their music making, exalted as it is, but for the joy they take in the act of connection."
Whether playing Haydn or premiering a new work, the SLSQ has a rare ability to bring audiences to rapt attention. They reveal surprising nuances in familiar repertoire and illuminate the works of some of today’s most celebrated composers, often all in the course of one evening. John Adams was inspired to write works expressly for the quartet after hearing them in concert. His “String Quartet,” written for the SLSQ, was premiered by the quartet in January 2009.
In spring 2011, the quartet will premiere a new work by Osvaldo Golijov, also composed for them. This forthcoming work (co-commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts and Carnegie Hall) is expected to build on the success of their previous collaboration, which culminated in the twice-Grammy-nominated SLSQ recording of the composer’s Yiddishbbuk (EMI) in 2002.
SLSQ maintains a busy touring schedule. The 2010/11 season includes two trips to Europe with concerts in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland and Estonia. In North America, SLSQ returns to Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, New York and Philadelphia in addition to concerts in North Carolina, Georgia, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma. During the summer season SLSQ is proud to continue its long association with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC and Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the quartet's founding in Canada, SLSQ in 2009 commissioned five Canadian composers and performed their work across the country. They also have active working relationships with numerous other composers, including R. Murray Schafer, Christos Hatzis, Ezequiel Viñao, Jonathan Berger, Ka Nin Chan, Roberto Sierra, and Mark Applebaum.
Since 1998 the SLSQ has held the position of Ensemble in Residence at Stanford University. This residency includes working with music students as well as extensive collaborations with other faculty and departments using music to explore a myriad of topics. Recent collaborations have involved the School of Medicine, School of Education, and the Law School. In addition to their appointment at Stanford, the SLSQ are visiting artists at the University of Toronto. The foursome's passion for opening up musical arenas to players and listeners alike is evident in their annual summer chamber music seminar at Stanford and their many forays into the depths of musical meaning with preeminent music educator Robert Kapilow.
Violist Lesley Robertson is a founding member of the group, and hails from Edmonton Alberta. Cellist Christopher Costanza is from Utica, NY and joined the quartet in 2003. Violinists Geoff Nuttall and Scott St. John both grew up in London Ontario; Geoff is a founding member and Scott joined in 2006. Depending on concert repertoire, the two alternate the role of first violin. All four members of the quartet live and teach at Stanford, in the Bay Area of California.
"Celebrating 20 years, this group
has matured and deepened without
losing its freshness and edge."
--The Globe and Mail, April 2009
Hailed by the New York Times as “intensely dynamic” with “stunning technique and volitality,” violinist Geoff Nuttall began playing the violin at the age of eight after moving to London, Ontario from College Station, Texas. He spent most of his musical studies under the tutelage of Lorand Fenyves at The Banff Centre, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Toronto, where he received his bachelor of arts. >read more
Described as “genre-bending” by the National Post, and “intrepid” by the Globe and Mail, Mark Fewer has performed around the world to critical acclaim in virtually every role asked of a violinist – and then some. His regular musical diet includes performances from the early baroque to the avant-garde, with recent performances as soloist with groups as wide-ranging as the Melbourne Symphony (Australia), the Fodens-Richardson Brass Band (UK), the Zapp Quartet (Amsterdam), and the McGill Percussion Ensemble (Canada). He is also a dedicated chamber musician, jazz violinist, artistic director, and teacher. >read more
A graduate of both the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School, Lesley Robertson, viola, hails from Edmonton, Alberta and currently lives in California where, along with the St. Lawrence String Quartet she is Artist- in-Residence at Stanford University. >read more
For over two decades cellist Christopher Costanza has enjoyed a varied and exciting career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. A winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and a recipient of a prestigious Solo Recitalists Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. Costanza has performed to wide critical acclaim in nearly every state in the U.S., and in Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, and Hungary. >read more