2016-2017 season announced

We are thrilled to announce our upcoming concert season! Some highlights: Absolute Jest (John Adams's concerto for string quartet and orchestra) with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil and Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony; tours of Italy, Paris, London, and the Netherlands where we will give the European premiere of Adams's Second Quartet; our three-concert series at Stanford Live; and return visits to Da Camera of Houston, Duke University, Music Toronto, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and many others. Take a look and let us know if we are coming to your town! We love hearing from our fans from far and wide.

Now available: Absolute Jest!

We're thrilled that the Absolute Jest recording has been released! Working on and performing the piece has been exciting on many levels, from the first conversations we had with John in Paris a few years ago (when the idea of creating "Absolute Jest" was taking shape in his mind), to our performances on two sets of San Francisco Symphony subscription series in Davies Hall and additional performances on domestic and European tours with the Symphony, as well as collaborations with the London, Toronto, and New World Symphonies. 

The piece was John Adams's response to an invitation from the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas to compose a work for the orchestra as part of its 100th anniversary celebratory season. John had recently composed "String Quartet" for the SLSQ (renamed "First String Quartet," since he has now written "Second String Quartet" for us), and he had become excited by the idea of taking late Beethoven quartet scherzi and twisting, manipulating, and morphing them into material for an orchestral piece with solo string quartet, to be played by the SLSQ. MTT and the Symphony agreed, and "Absolute Jest " was born. After six or seven successful performances in Davies and on the road (including Carnegie Hall), John found himself dissatisfied with the opening half of the work and re-wrote the first 400 measures of music, bringing us to the current, and recorded, version of the piece.

Recording "Absolute Jest" was a very direct and straightforward experience, since it's a "recorded live in concert" release. What that means is: we gave a series of three performances of the work in Davies Hall (followed by one short "patch" session), and the recording's producer took all the raw material from those performances and edited it into the current release. 

Working with John Adams has been a remarkably rewarding, exciting, and energizing experience for the SLSQ, and we're eternally grateful to him for having composed three magnificent works for us! The "Absolute Jest" adventure has been especially meaningful and thrilling, since it has given us incredible concerto opportunities (and there aren't very many quartet concerti out there!) and has led to important working relationships with MTT, the San Francisco Symphony, and other great orchestras and conductors. 

The fine folks at the San Francisco Symphony have published a video trailer for the new album, so take a look. We can't wait to get back to playing this great work in Europe over the next few weeks with our friends MTT and the San Francisco Symphony. Stay tuned for updates!

SLSQ launches new website

Dear friends and fans! Today Geoff and Chris began the first concerts of the Spoleto USA chamber music 2015 season in Charleston, SC, and will be joined next week by Lesley, and our newest member, Owen, who makes his SLSQ debut at these concerts. 

Today we are also launching this brand new website to showcase our upcoming performances, as well as news, videos, merchandise and more! 

Please be sure to 'like' the quartet's facebook page and visit slsq.com often for updates and lots of new content.

These are very exciting times for the SLSQ! We hope you enjoy the new site and we look forward to staying in touch with you!

-Geoff, Lesley, Chris and Owen

A new article about the Emerging String Quartet Program

Hi everyone - Owen here, posting for the first time on behalf of the SLSQ! Check out this terrific new article by Sara Langlands on the quartet's Emerging String Quartet Program, featuring the brilliant Cecilia String Quartet and the vital work they are doing by bringing great music into prisons.

This work means a huge amount to me personally and I'm so happy to be joining institutions that value the rehabilitative power of music, too. Thanks, Sara, for the eloquent feature!

SLSQ announces new second violinist: Owen Dalby to join in June 2015

STANFORD, CA - New York-based violinist Owen Dalby has been named as the new second violinist with the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ). He will join the group in June, 2015. Mr. Dalby, a graduate of Yale University, is an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician. As a native of Berkeley, California, his relocation will be as much a homecoming as a new beginning. “I’ve always considered string quartet playing as the pinnacle of what I could possibly do with my musical career,” Dalby explains, “so for me, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

“Owen has an incredibly generous spirit and shares our passion not only for the quartet repertoire but for all that goes into bringing music to life,” says founding member and first violinist Geoff Nuttall. “We are thrilled that he has agreed to join the SLSQ family!”

Departing violinist Mark Fewer has been appointed William Dawson Scholar at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In their brief tenure together, Mark Fewer and his St. Lawrence String Quartet colleagues received critical and audience acclaim for their dynamic ensemble-playing. Geoff Nuttall adds: “Mark is a longtime friend, a terrific violinist, and one of the world's great pedagogues. McGill is truly lucky to have him!”

Owen Dalby will first take the stage with the group this coming June, at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, where his SLSQ colleague, Geoff Nuttall, also serves as the Festival’s Chamber Music Series Director.

Geoff Nuttall muses on 25 years together, chamber music, teaching

Stanford Report
By: Marty Semilla and Marisa Lin

TSD: In your experience, how is chamber music different from other genres of music performance – solos, orchestral performance, etc.? What makes it special?


SLSQ: There are so many reasons. The repertoire is totally unparalleled, with total masterpieces from Haydn to Shostakovich. Not only are we inspired by incredible music, but you’re able to control your artistic destiny. You can improvise and there’s total democracy in the artistic sense. With the quality, plus the repertoire, plus the ability to make one’s own decisions about rehearsals, nothing comes even close to it. But there are some negatives about it as well. It’s very hard to make a living. There’s four people and not a lot of money. As a string quartet, we’ve been incredibly lucky. We can have a life and a family and still perform.

SLSQ celebrates 25th anniversary season with three world premieres at Stanford

"It's no exaggeration to say that SLSQ is the jewel in the crown of Stanford's Music Department.”

Stanford's prized St. Lawrence String Quartet will mark its 25th anniversary with a trio of commissioned works from John Adams and Stanford-based composers Jonathan Berger and Jaroslaw Kapuscinski.