International Touring

The St. Lawrence String Quartet performs up to one hundred concerts per year throughout North America and Europe, with occasional trips to South America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.  The quartet’s concert touring is extremely important to the professional life of the ensemble, keeping us active in the highly competitive chamber music world and allowing us to share the culmination of our intensive work together with audiences everywhere. 

A highlight of the SLSQ's touring in recent years has been performances of the work Absolute Jest by John Adams, for Solo String Quartet and Orchestra. Mr. Adams composed the work in 2012 for the SLSQ and the San Francisco Symphony with Music Director Michel Tilson Thomas (MTT) as conductor. The SLSQ premiered the piece in San Francisco, with the SF Symphony and MTT, on March 15, 2012 in Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco as part of the Symphony's American Maverick's Series, followed immediately by two additional performances and a U.S. tour to Carnegie Hall in New York City, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The SLSQ has performed the work extensively since that time: with the San Francisco Symphony and MTT on a Symphony subscription series (the performances of which were recorded for commercial release) and on two European tours with that orchestra, with performances in London, Birmingham, Paris, Edinburgh, Berlin, Bucharest, and Lucerne; with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, John Adams conducting, on December 1, 2012; with the London Symphony at the Barbican Concert Hall, John Adams conducting, on January 27, 2013; with the Toronto Symphony, John Adams conducting, on March 7, 2014; in September and October of this year, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel conducting; and next month, with the Baltimore Symphony, Marin Alsop conducting.

Other highlights of our extensive touring activities over the past several years include: annual European concert tours, with concerts in the UK, Italy, Germany (including Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne, and many others), Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Belgium; appearances in Korea, Australia, and New Zealand; annual appearances on major New York concert series (such as Carnegie Hall and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center); annual or bi-annual appearances in Toronto, Vancouver, San Diego, Durham NC (Duke University), and Philadelphia; appearances in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Tulsa, Denver, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Columbus, Calgary, Ottawa, and Santa Fe.

In conjunction with our international touring, we present a great many outreach performances and master classes for students. Often directly linked to concerts we perform at colleges and universities, we teach students, coach student chamber ensembles, perform formal and informal quartet concerts, work with faculty and student composers, and present master classes. 

review highlights

“ It’s a modern string quartet that brings flexibility, dramatic fire and...a hint of rock ‘n’ roll energy...”
Los Angeles Times

“The players irrepressibly tore into Beethoven’s Quartet in E-Flat, Opus 127....The fast movements in both Haydn and Beethoven began to approach jazz.... Enthrallingly inward-searching. The quartet...digs for emotion at all costs.”
Los Angeles Times

“An ensemble that [projects] an irresistible exuberance in performances, and [links] that sense of joy with artistry of subtlety and finesse....who would prefer bland polish over this group’s style of vital risk-taking?”
The Boston Globe

”Brilliant....the performance showed not only virtuosity, intelligence and imagination but also extraordinary passion.”
The New York Times

”A rare gift for combining interpretive spontaneity and fierce musical commitment.” The New York Times

“Impassioned performances full of operatic lyricism and structural insight”
The New Yorker

“These are fearless musicians whose spontaneity stretches past conventional interpretation and probes the music’s imaginative limits.”
The Washington Post

“An almost disturbing intensity that held the audience spellbound. The performance bristled with the electricity the ensemble has become known for...This was an almost impeccable, powerful performance, with entrances coordinated with absolute precision, sharply etched phrases and carefully judged silences...remarkable.”
The New York Times

”Superb...enthralling and outstanding performance.”
The Boston Globe

“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

“A freshness and élan rich in the very lightness of being...the St. Lawrence Quartet made a convincing case for being the top quartet of the post-Emerson generation.” (Wes Blomster)

“Faultless, instantly compelling performances....Forget its “youth culture” image; if the St. Lawrence can build on this brilliant debut, a great future surely awaits.”
BBC Music Magazine [Awarded 5 stars]

“Expressive tension was unrelenting, even in the still, shivering harmonics of the first movement. The performance had a dangerous, unchecked edge; I have never heard anything quite like it.”
The New York Times

“The St. Lawrence is first and foremost, I think, about risk taking: about playing on the emotional edge; about performing, not to ‘get it right,’ but because the music has something to tell us that we cannot live without; something that could make you change your life.”
The Toronto Globe & Mail

“This is what makes the SLSQ one of the great quartets of our time: their incandescent imagination; the graceful lucidity with which they reveal form; their intuitive ability to slip into the skin of their composers; their infectious sense of discovery and creation, even in performance.”
The National Post (Canada)

“The St. Lawrence String Quartet [play] with imagination, sensitivity, sensational physical abandon, and a complete lack of emotional inhibition.”
The Boston Globe

“Dazzling...beyond was like hearing this work [Dvorak’s ‘American’] for the first time.”
The Salt Lake Tribune

“Incendiary....The performance of the formidable Beethoven String Quartet in B-Flat Major (Op. 130) was revelatory, as if at every juncture to say, ‘Wow! Isn’t this amazing?’”
The Kansas City Star

sample of concert programs from recent seasons

SLSQ Performances and Presentations since 2012