Tag Archives: String Quartets

Brentano Quartet and Dawn Upshaw

The Brentano Quartet, joined by acclaimed American soprano Dawn Upshaw, will perform on our stage on January 11, 2018.

The Brentano was formed in 1992 at Juilliard by Mark Steinberg (violin), Serena Canin (violin), Misha Amory (viola), and Michael Kannen (cello).  Cellist Nina Lee joined in mid 1998, when Kannen left to care for his family.  Award winning from early on, the Brentano has performed world-wide and released several CDs, including recordings of all of Beethoven’s late quartets.  From 1999 to 2014, they were the Ensemble-in-Residence at Princeton University, the first to hold that position.  In 2014, they succeeded the Tokyo String Quartet as Resident String Quartet at the Yale School of Music.

For the movie lovers out there, the Brentano played the quartet music for the film A Late Quartet and Lee has a cameo at the end of the film.

To learn more about the Brentano Quartet, visit their website at http://brentanoquartet.com/about/

With over 50 recordings, soprano Dawn Upshaw is a 5 time Grammy award winner.  Born in Nashville in 1960, she is a familiar and respected name in the classical music world.  In addition to the numerous opera roles she has performed over the years, she also dedicates time to performing chamber music and solo recitals.  Teaching young performers is also important to her.  She holds the positions of Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and the Head of the Vocal Arts Program at the Tanglewood Music Center.  She regularly teaches master classes and workshop while on tour.  She will give a master class while she is here in Toronto next week (http://music-toronto.com/outreach.htm).

The article is from a few years back but it gives some great insight into Dawn Upshaw as a person and performer. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2008/mar/16/classicalmusicandopera.review

Join us on January 11th to hear the combined amazing talents of the Brentano Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw!  http://music-toronto.com/index.html


Leave a comment

Filed under Performers

Carducci Quartet

After a cancellation by another quartet, we were fortunate enough to secure the Carducci Quartet with fairly short notice to perform on November 16, 2017.  This will be their Toronto debut. The performance will include Beethoven – Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op.95, Serioso; Shostakovich – Quartet No. 4 in D Major, Op. 83; and Debussy – Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10.

2017 marks the 20th anniversary for Britain’s brilliant Anglo-Irish quartet.  The Carducci Quartet members are Matthew Denton (violin), Michelle Fleming (violin), Eoin Schmidt-Martin (viola), and Emma Denton (cello). Award winning in several areas, they received the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Chamber Music Award for their Shostakovich15 project, in which they commemorated 40 years since the composer’s death by performing all of Shostakovich’s string quartets in 2015. Check out their blog about the project http://shostakovich15.blogspot.ca/

As you would expect, they perform around the globe and record. They actually have their own recording label, Carducci Classics. Sharing their knowledge is also important to the quartet.  They set up the Carducci Music Trust in 2009 to help fund their work with schools and at their annual Festival at Highnam.

You can read more about the Carducci Quartet and all of their endeavours on their website http://www.carducciquartet.com/ and hear them live in Toronto on November 16, 2017. http://music-toronto.com/index.html

Leave a comment

Filed under Performers

Quatuor Mosaïques

On Thursday, October 19, 2017, Quatuor Mosaïques will open our 46th season!

This Austrian Quartet was formed in 1987 and celebrates their 30th anniversary this year. With a focus on 18th century music, they play on historical instruments. They are the foremost European quartet playing on period instruments.

The quartet players and their instruments are: Erich Höbarth (violin, J. Guarnerius filius Andreae, Cremona 1705), Andrea Bischof (violin, 18th century French), Anita Mitterer (viola, Girolamo Devirchis, Brescia 1588), Christophe Coin (cello, C..A. Testore, Milano 1758). The quartet members met while playing with Concentus Musicus Wien, the first professional Baroque orchestra formed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Quatuor Mosaïques tours the world and records. We are thrilled that everything has at long last aligned and we are able to present their Toronto debut! Join us on October 29th for some Mozart and Haydn string quartets.

Check out more about Quatuor Mosaïques here – www.kirshbaumassociates.com/artist.php?id=qm

Leave a comment

Filed under Performers

Pavel Fischer

Over the past few weeks we have looked at a few different noted Czech composers. Today we take a brief look at a still living Czech composer!

Pavel Fischer was born in 1965 into a musical family. His mother sang in a sextet specializing in Moravian folk music. His father conducted. Fischer attended the Prague Conservatory and the Prague Academy of Music. He cofounded the Škampa Quartet in 1989 and performed as their first violinist until 2007.

In 2007, Fischer decided to devote more time to composing and teaching.  His first string quartet, Morava, premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2008. He was a visiting professor of chamber music at the Royal Academy in London. Since 2008 Fischer has been a tutor in violin at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Fischer has also added conducting to his interests. In December 2016, he led the National Youth String Orchestra in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can learn more about the South African National Youth Orchestra on their website http://www.sanyo.org.za/about-us/our-orchestras-and-ensembles/

Leave a comment

Filed under Composers

Our 46th season!

On February 16, 2017 we announced our 46th season!

Season subscription for our 2017-2018 season went on sale in February and were mailed out in mid August.  Contact the box office if you have any questions – 416-366-7723

Quatuor Mosaïques open our season and our string series on October 19th with their Toronto debut.  Celebrating their 30th season, they will perform Mozart and Haydn on their period instruments.

November 7th will be the opening of our piano series with Benjamin Grosvenor.  This will be Grosvenor’s 3rd recital for us and we look forward to his return.

The Škampa Quartet perform on November 16th.  This outstanding Czech string quartet has released 15 award-winning recordings and now is your chance to hear them live in Toronto.

Montreal pianist and first recipient of the Prix Goyer (Extreme Emerging Artist), Philip Chiu makes his Toronto recital debut with us on November 28th.

Our annual Gryphon Trio concert will finish out the 2017 calendar year for us on December 7th.

We start 2018 with the Brentano Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw performing together on January 11th.

Stephen Hough returns to our stage on January 23rd for our first piano recital of 2018.  He will be playing a number of pieces by Debussy in honour of the 100th year anniversary of Debussy’s death.

The exuberant St. Lawrence Quartet return for their annual visit on February 1st.

Esteemed Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov joins us at the age of 74 with our February 6th concert.

The Apollon Musagète Quartet return on February 22nd. This dynamic, award-winning young quartet had their Toronto debut on our stage in November 2015.  We are pleased to host a long awaited return engagement.

The Penderecki Quartet join us on March 15th.  This 31 year old quartet has been the Quartet-in-Residence down the road in Waterloo at Wilfrid Laurier University for the past 20 years.

Hungarian pianist Dénes Várjon returns to close our Piano Series for the 2017-2018 season on March 27th.

And the final concert of our 46th season will be the Toronto debut of the award-winning Schumann Quartet on April 12th.

We look forward to having you join us!

Single tickets are now on sale.  In addition to our regular tickets for $50 or $55, we also have $10 student tickets.  These can be purchased for full time students.  An accompanying non-student can purchase a regular ticket at the same time for half price.  So parents, bring your kids.  And grown up students, bring your parents!  If you are between the ages of 18 and 35 and not a student, take advantage of our pay your age tickets available for any of our concerts.  Student tickets and pay your age tickets need to be purchased in person or via phone at 416-366-7723.

For more information on the individual concerts, please visit our website here http://music-toronto.com/season.htm

Leave a comment

Filed under Music - General Interest

Philharmonia Quartett Berlin

March 16, 2017 will be the 8th concert that the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin has played for us over the years.  Daniel Stabrawa (violin), Christian Stadelmann (violin), and Neithard Resa (viola) are all original members of the 32 year old quartet.  Dietmar Schwalke (cello) joined them in 2009 after the sudden passing of Jan Diesselhorst.

All four members of the quartet are part of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.  Daniel is the 1st Concertmaster and occasionally conducts the orchestra.  Christian is the Leader of the 2nd Violins.  Of the four, Neithard is the longest-serving member of the orchestra, originally becoming a member in 1978.  He served as Principal Violist until 2010.  Joining the orchestra in 1994, Dietmar is the ‘newest’ of the four.  In addition to the Quartet, he is involved in a number of chamber groups associated with the orchestra such as the 12 Cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic Capriccio.

Somehow with all of the demands on their schedules for performances and teaching, they have still managed to release a number of recordings over the years.  Their most recent ones are from 2014 (Beethoven) and 2015 (Brahms).

Join us on March 16th to hear Haydn’s Quartet in G major, Op. 64, No. 4, Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6 and Schumann’s Quartet in A Minor, Op. 41, No. 1.   http://www.music-toronto.com/quartets/berlin.htm

Leave a comment

Filed under Performers

Prazak Quartet

The quartet was originally formed in 1972.  The current quartet members are Jana Vonášková (violin), Vlastimil Holek, (violin), Josef Kluson, (viola), Michal Kanka, (cello).  The quartet was formed by its original members when they were still students at the Prague Conservatory.  Kluson is the only remaining founding member.

The most recent addition to the quartet is violinist Jana Vonášková, previously a member of the Smetana Piano Trio.  Born in 1979 in the Czech Republic, she studied at the Prague Conservatory, gaining a scholarship to continue her studies at the Royal College of Music in London.  After graduating in 2005, she returned to Prague to study at the Academy of Performing Arts.

The quartet has released over 60 recordings in the past 40 plus years including 30 award-winning ones with Praga/Harmonia Mundi.

Read more about the quartet on their website – http://prazakquartet.com/en/

Join us on March 2nd to hear the Prazak Quartet play Haydn, Bruckner, and Dvorak.  http://music-toronto.com/quartets/prazak.htm

Leave a comment

Filed under Performers

Eybler Quartet

The Eybler Quartet performed for us a couple of years ago at one of our outreach events. We are excited to have them on our main stage this season. Formed in 2004, the quartet currently includes Aisslinn Nosky (violin), Julia Wedman (violin), Patrick G. Jordan (viola), and Margaret Gay (cello).

Their primary focus is on works of the first century of the string quartet and they like to bring attention to lesser known early composers. They are named for one such composer – Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler. Eybler was a contemporary of Mozart.

The quartet perform period music on instruments appropriate to the time period. Nosky, Wedman, and Jordan are all part of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

You can read more about the individual performers on their website – http://eyblerquartet.com/

Join us on Thursday February 16th and hear the Eybler Quartet perform live in Toronto. They will play pieces by Vanhal, Haydn, Asplmayr, and Beethoven http://music-toronto.com/quartets/eybler.htm

Leave a comment

Filed under Performers

Franz Asplmayr

Franz Asplmayr was born in 1728 and lived to be 58 years old.  Born in Linz, Austria, he studied violin with his father initially and was mainly self-taught in composition.  He was a prolific composer of ballets, symphonies, chamber music.  Influenced by composers of the Mannheim School, Asplmayer combined techniques with the developing Viennese style.  During his life time he met both Haydn (in 1760) and Mozart (in the 1780s).

He moved to Vienna in the late 1740s.  In 1759 he started serving in the Imperial court.  He started as a secretary and violinist and eventually took over the duties of Christoph Willibald Gluck, the ballet composer for the Kärntnertortheater.  When this position finished, Asplmayr composed for Jean Georges Noverre’s ballet troupe.

We will be treated to one of his quartets with the Eybler Quartet on February 16, 2017 in Toronto.  Join us to hear Quartet in D Major, Op.2 No.2 by Franz Asplmayr.

Leave a comment

Filed under Composers

St. Lawrence String Quartet 2017

The St. Lawrence Quartet is back on our stage on January 26, 2017!  They have been performing on our stage since 1992 and are known world-wide as a very respected quartet.

Geoff Nuttall (violin), Owen Dalby (violin), Lesley Robertson (viola), and Christopher Costanza (cello) all return to perform the following programme this year for our audience:

Haydn – Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 20, No. 1

Jonathan Berger – “Swallow” (2014), written for the SLSQ

Leos Janacek – String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”

Haydn – Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5


The SLSQ is the quartet in residence at Stanford University.  For several years the quartet has been involved in a summer Chamber Music Seminar held there.  The dates for 2017 are from June 24 to July 2 and applications are being accepted until February 1, 2017.  This seminar gives attendees the opportunity to focus on chamber music by working with the SLSQ and special guest teachers.  For more information, visit this link https://music.stanford.edu/ensembles-lessons/ensemble-in-residence-slsq/slsq-stanford/seminar

We have a few previous blog postings on the SLSQ here on this site so feel free to do a quick search and read some of our past thoughts.  If you would like more information on the quartet or its members, you can find all of that on their website at http://www.slsq.com/   And to hear them in person in Toronto, come and join us on January 26, 2017 http://music-toronto.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under Performers