Geoff Nuttall, violin
Scott St. John, violin
Lesley Robertson, viola
Christopher Costanza, cello
“A sound that has just about everything one wants from a quartet, most notably precision, warmth and an electricity that conveys the excitement of playing whatever is on their stands at the moment.”
– The New York Times
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 new work by Osvaldo Golijov, also composed for them. The Quartet will perform “Absolute Jest” with the New World Symphony in December 2012, with John Adams conducting. They will also perform “Qohelet” at Carnegie Hall in February, 2013 in a concert celebrating Golijov’s work.
SLSQ maintains a busy touring schedule. Some 2012/13 season highlights include visits to Columbus, Calgary, Houston, Iowa City, Miami, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Durham, in addition to their Carnegie Hall appearance and a visit to Seoul, South Korea. 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.
Last updated November, 2012. Please replace previous bio material.