Named in honor of violist and Stanford alum John Lad (’74), the prize includes invitations to appear on the Stanford Live season in Stanford, CA and Vancouver’s Music on Main series.

Rolston String Quartet

Rolston String Quartet

Houston-based Rolston String Quartet first performed at Bing Concert Hall during the 2016 St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford. Just a few weeks later, the ensemble was awarded First Prize at the BANFF International String Quartet Competition.

The musicians -- Jeffrey Dyrda (violin), Luri Lee (violin), Hezekiah Leung (viola), and Jonathan Lo (cello) will receive invitations to perform for both Stanford Live and Vancouver’s Music on Main series, and will also participate in the 2017 Emerging String Quartet Program at Stanford. Now in its sixth year honoring exceptional emerging chamber ensembles, the Lad prize is named after the SLSQ’s dear friend John Lad (Stanford ’74), a violist and ardent chamber music devotee.

The SLSQ was initially introduced to Lad when they were preparing R. Murray Shafer's String Quartet no. 6 (“Parting the Wild Horses Main”), a composition which combines string quartet with the movements of Tai Chi. He went on to perform and tour with the ensemble across North America and Europe for several seasons. Lad was a fixture at the SLSQ’s summer Chamber Music Seminar, playing viola, leading early morning Tai Chi classes in Braun Courtyard, playing a Tai Chi based ball toss game with eager participants, then reading chamber music late into the night.

 “John Lad’s passion for playing string quartets was addictive,” says SLSQ co-founder and first violinist Geoff Nuttall. “His devotion to music against all odds and his total lack of ego are both qualities that are crucial to the success of any young ensemble.” At the time of his death, Lad was teaching Tai Chi in the physical education department at Columbia/Barnard University.

John Lad in an undated photo

John Lad in an undated photo

About the Rolston String Quartet

Praised for “chim[ing] the most resonantly with the ideals of perfect quartet playing” (Calgary Herald), the Rolston String Quartet won First Prize at the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition and is a winner of the 2016 Astral Artists National Auditions. They have also won First Prize at the 31st Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, Third Prize at the inaugural M-Prize Competition, and the Durosoir Prize at the 2016 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition. Performances have taken them throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe in venues such as the Kennedy Center, Harris Hall, Koerner Hall, and the Auditorium de Bordeaux. Notable collaborations include performances with renowned artists Andrés Díaz, Gil Kalish, Mark Morris, Donald Palma, Jon Kimura Parker, and Miguel da Silva. Additionally they have worked closely with composers John Luther Adams and Brian Current.

Currently the Graduate Quartet-in-Residence at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, the quartet has also participated in residencies and fellowships at the Académie musicale de Villecroze, Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, McGill International String Quartet Academy, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, and the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Festival. Mentored primarily by James Dunham, Norman Fischer, and Kenneth Goldsmith, they have received additional guidance from Steven Dann, Paul Kantor, Barry Shiffman, Miguel da Silva, Mark Steinberg, and Alastair Tait.

The Rolston String Quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Chamber Music Residency. They take their name after the Canadian violinist Thomas Rolston, founder and longtime director of the Music and Sound Programs at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

ABOUTVancouver’s Music on Main

Music on Main is Canada’s “highly popular series that’s as musically adventurous as it is socially gregarious” (The Georgia Straight). Hailed as a global leader in the Indie Classical movement, the series has produced over 250 events featuring more than 700 musicians and over 50 world premieres, all in informal, inviting environments.  And since 2010, Music on Main has hosted the annual Modulus Festival, which “provides western Canada with one of the finest windows onto the post-classical scene” (Gramophone Magazine).  In November 2017, Music on Main welcomes the world to Vancouver with the ISCM World New Music Days 2017.


Stanford Live presents a wide range of the finest performances from around the world fostering a vibrant learning community and providing distinctive experiences through the performing arts. With its home at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford Live is simultaneously a public square, a sanctuary, and a lab, drawing on the breadth and depth of Stanford University to connect performance to the significant issues, ideas, and discoveries of our time.