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St. Lawrence String Quartet

Geoff Nuttall, violin
Scott St. John , violin
Lesley Robertson, viola
Christopher Costanza, cello

“Fearless musicians whose spontaneity stretches past conventional interpretation and probes the music’s imaginative limits.” —Washington Post


Cypresses, for string quartet (selections), B. 152    Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
(The musicians will announce the specific selections from the stage)

String Quartet No. 3     R. Murray Schafer

   Slowly, but with great passion
   Allegro energico
   Slow; calm; mystical

** Intermission **

String Quartet in B flat, Op. 130, with Grosse Fuge ending, op. 133    Ludwig van Beethoven

   Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro
   Andante con moto ma non troppo
   Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai
   Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo
   Grosse Fuge

Sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Performing Arts Endowment.

Having walked on stage together nearly 2000 times since debuting in 1989, the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation. In 1992, they won both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions, launching them on a performing career that has brought them across North and South America, Europe and Asia.

The long awaited initial recording of the St. Lawrence Quartet, Schumann’s First and Third Quartets, was released in May 1999 to great critical acclaim. The CD received the coveted German critics award, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, as well as Canada’s annual Juno Award. BBC Music Magazine gave the recording its “highest rating,” calling it the benchmark recording of the works.  In October of 2001, EMI released their recording of string quartets of Tchaikovsky. In 2002 their recording Yiddishbbuk featuring the chamber music of the celebrated Argentinean-American composer Osvaldo Golijov received two Grammy nominations.  Their most recent recording of Shostakovich Quartets was released in July, 2006.

The Quartet performs over 100 concerts worldwide. Highlights of the 2006/07 eason include their popular series Sunday’s with the St. Lawrence for Stanford Lively Arts, concerts in New York (Carnegie Hall), Boston, Houston, Seattle, Toronto, Calgary, Austin, TX, and Raleigh, NC. In February, 2007 they will join with Soprano Heidi Grant Murphy and pianist Kevin Murphy in performances of a new work by Roberto Sierra.  This collaboration will debut in University Park, PA, with subsequent performances in Ithaca, NY, College Park, MD, Morrow, GA, San Francisco, Portland, La Jolla, and Dallas.

Their summer calendar features their 12th year as Resident Quartet to the Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, SC. Other summer festival appearances include Albuquerque, Maverick Concerts, and Bay Chamber Concerts (Maine).

The SLSQ has been involved in numerous inventive collaborations, including a 2003 project with the renowned Pilobolus Dance Theatre, which premiered at Stanford University. The quartet appeared with the Emerson Quartet at Carnegie’ s Zankel Hall, presented R. Murray Shafer’s 4-40 with Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony, Emmanuel Villaume and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and Yuli Turovsky with I Musici de Montreal.

The foursome regularly delivers traditional quartet repertoire, but is also fervently committed to performing and expanding the works of living composers. Among those with whom the St. Lawrence Quartet currently has active working relationships are R. Murray Schafer, Osvaldo Golijov, Christos Hatzis, Jonathan Berger, Ka Nin Chan, and Mark Applebaum.

Having been privileged to study with the Emerson, Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets the St. Lawrence, are themselves passionate educators. Since 1998 they have held the position of Ensemble in Residence at Stanford University. This residency includes working with students of music 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 Jewish Studies. In addition to their appointment at Stanford, the SLSQ has served as visiting artists to the University of Toronto since 1995 and this season will inaugurate a new visiting chamber music residency at the Arizona State University. 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.

The SLSQ is deeply committed to bringing music to less traditional venues outside the classroom or concert hall. Whether at Lincoln Center or an elementary school classroom, the St. Lawrence players maintain a strong desire to share the wonders of chamber music with their listeners, a characteristic of the foursome that has led them to a more informal performance style than one might expect from chamber musicians. Alex Ross of The New Yorker 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.”