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St. Lawrence String Quartet to Disband

The group is disbanding after 34 years together and the death of its founding violinist


Founded in Toronto in 1989, the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) comprised violinists Geoff Nuttall and Owen Dalby, violist Lesley Robertson, and cellist Christopher Costanza

After a one-year hiatus following the death of Nuttall, the SLSQ has announced that the 2023/24 season will be its last. A co-founding member of the quartet alongside Robertson, Nuttall passed away in 2022. 

In the meantime, the SLSQ will be continuing its work at Stanford University, where it has been in residence since 1998. In addition to other projects, the group has been performing and teaching at the school, as well as directing and producing its chamber music program and annual Chamber Music Seminar.

Drawing international acclaim following their 1992 win at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the group was an early protégé of the Emerson String Quartet, and also studied with the Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets, and members of the Orford String Quartet and the Hungarian Quartet. 

Works commissioned for the quartet have included contemporary composers such as Osvaldo Golijov, John Adams, Jonathan Berger, Mark Applebaum, and R. Murray Schafer. The group was also ensemble-in-residence at Spoleto Festival USA for 25 years.

Their collaborating artists have included Menahem Pressler, Todd Palmer, the Emerson, Ying, & Brentano Quartets, Gustavo Dudamel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Marin Alsop, Peter Oundjian, Stephen Prutsman, Inon Barnatan, Anne-Marie McDermott, Wu Han, David Finckel, and more. 

Additionally, the group’s award-winning albums have been released on EMI; Naxos; Nonesuch; EASonus; and, most recently, Phenotypic Recordings. Over the years, they were represented by Andrew Kwan Artist Management, Young Concert Artists, EAS Musik Management, Columbia Artists and David Rowe Artists. 

The quartet’s legacy members include violinists Scott St. John and Mark Fewer, cellist Alberto Parrini, and the two other co-founding members violinist Barry Shiffman and cellist Marina Hoover.

“We have had the adventure of our lives. We can’t imagine a more gratifying, challenging, inspiring, exasperating, deeply joyful, heartbreaking, life-affirming experience than this joint effort over so many years,” wrote Robertson, Costanza, and Dalby in a statement. “We are profoundly grateful to have had the opportunity to explore the magic kingdom of the string quartet repertoire together — and for the deep friendships, beautiful discoveries and transformative life lessons learned along the way.”

The ensemble’s final season will conclude with performances in Toronto, Charleston, SC, Washington, D.C., San Diego, and at Stanford University.

upcoming events

may 2024

06may01junQueen Elisabeth Violin Competition12:00 am - (june 1) 11:59 pm Flagey ASBL-VZW, Pl. Sainte-Croix, 1050 Bruxelles, BelgiumEvent Type :competitions Event Tagscompetition,Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition,violinFOLLOW

27mayAll Day31New York Classic Violin Competition(All Day) Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Ave, New York, NY 10027Event Type :competitions Event TagsClassic Violin Olympus International Competition,violin competitionFOLLOW

june 2024

06junAll Day13Khachaturian International Violin Competition(All Day) Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, 46 Mesrop Mashtots Ave, Yerevan, ArmeniaEvent Type :competitions Event TagsKhachaturian International Competition,violin competitionFOLLOW

08junAll Day16Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition(All Day) Romolo Valli Municipal Theatre, Piazza Martiri del 7 Luglio, 1, 42121 Reggio Emilia RE, Italy Event Type :competitions Event TagsPremio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition,string quartet competitionFOLLOW

17junAll Day22Primrose International Viola Competition(All Day) Colburn School, 200 S Grand AveEvent Type :competitions Event TagsPrimrose International Viola Competition,Primrose Viola CompetitionFOLLOW


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