Established in 1989, the St. Lawrence String Quartet has developed an undisputed reputation as one of the world's great ensembles. Called “witty, buoyant, and wickedly attentive” (The Gazette, Montreal), with a “peerless” sense of ensemble (Financial Times, London), the quartet is celebrated for its “smoldering intensity” (Washington Post), and “flexibility, dramatic fire and… hint of rock 'n' roll energy” (LA Times). SLSQ performs around the world and has served as Ensemble-in-Residence at Stanford University since 1998.
The St. Lawrence continues to build its reputation for imaginative and spontaneous music-making through an energetic commitment to the great established quartet literature, as well as the championing of new works by such composers as John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Ezequiel Vinao, and Jonathan Berger. Of their collaborations with Adams, the Washington Post asserted “If good relationships are built on trust, the bond between the St. Lawrence String Quartet and composer John Adams is a marriage made in chamber music heaven.”
In late summer 2015, the quartet will tour Europe with the San Francisco Symphony, performing Adams’s “Absolute Jest” under the baton of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas for audiences in the UK, Germany, Romania and Switzerland. Later in the season, SLSQ will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York; in Vancouver and Toronto; Madison, WI; Worcester, MA; Eugene, OR; and East Lansing, MI. Two spring 2016 highlights include a residency at the University of Maryland and a special Haydn event at the 92nd Street Y in New York. During the summer season, SLSQ is proud to continue its long association with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.
In recent seasons, SLSQ has paid special attention to Franz Josef Haydn with a series of concerts in which the foursome explores and unpacks the composer’s string quartets from various perspectives and then performs the works in their entirety. Geoff Nuttall, hailed as “the Jon Stewart of chamber music” (New York Times), explains, “to be really devastated by the genius of Haydn’s music, the performers and audiences have to be connected…exploring the material in a really active way.” The quartet will continue to offer these “Haydn Discovery” programs through the 2016-17 season and beyond.
The Quartet’s residency at Stanford includes working with music students, as well as extensive collaborations with other faculty and departments, using music to explore myriad 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.
Lesley Robertson and Geoff Nuttall are founding members of the group, and hail from Edmonton, Alberta, and London, Ontario, respectively. Christopher Costanza is from Utica, NY, and joined the group in 2003. Owen Dalby, from the San Francisco Bay area, joined in 2015. All four members of the quartet live and teach at Stanford University in California.