Quartet History

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 has written two critically-acclaimed works expressly for the quartet, including “String Quartet” (2009) and “Absolute Jest” (2012), which they premiered with the San Francisco Symphony in 2012. In 2011, SLSQ premiered “Qohelet,” a work by Osvaldo Golijov, also composed for them.

SLSQ maintains a busy touring schedule. Some 2013/14 season highlights include visits to Vancouver, Princeton, Portland, OR, Toronto, Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, Palm Beach, Washington, DC, and will premiere a new work by George Tsontakis in Carmel, CA. They will perform “Absolute Jest” with the Toronto Symphony, and also on a European tour with the San Francisco Symphony. During the summer season, SLSQ is proud to continue its long association with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.

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 myriad 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 in residence at Arizona State University at Tempe. 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.

Lesley Robertson and Geoff Nuttall are founding members of the group, and hail from Edmonton, Alberta, and London, Ontario, respectively. Christopher Costanza is from Utica, NY, and joined the group in 2003. Mark Fewer, a native of Newfoundland, begins his first season with the quartet in 2014, succeeding violinist Scott St. John. All four members of the quartet live and teach at Stanford, in the Bay Area of California.