St. Lawrence String Quartet to Disband

After 34 Remarkable Seasons


After a one year hiatus following the death of founding violinist Geoff Nuttall, the members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) today announced that 2023-24 will be the ensemble’s final season. They are continuing, however, to make their lives at Stanford University, where the SLSQ has been in residence since 1998 —performing, teaching, directing Stanford’s chamber music program, and producing their annual Chamber Music Seminar, in addition to pursuing other musical projects.

Founded in Toronto in 1989, the SLSQ were renowned for their high-energy, deeply expressive, and “take no prisoners” approach to all music, and beloved for nurturing an engaged and inclusive musical community. As Alex Ross of The New Yorker aptly noted, “the SLSQ is remarkable not simply for the quality of their music-making, exalted as it is, but for the joy they take in the act of connection.”

Well-known for performing a broad and eclectic repertoire, SLSQ were especially regarded for their commitment to the music of Haydn—recent concert programs included all six quartets from his Opus 20 in a single afternoon—and to new music. Commissioned works were written for the ensemble by celebrated contemporary composers, such as Osvaldo Golijov, John Adams, Jonathan Berger, Mark Applebaum, and R. Murray Schafer. These composers, with whom they forged rich and abiding friendships, were inspired to return time and again to write for the SLSQ.

The St. Lawrence String Quartet shot to international attention following their 1992 win at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. Early protégés of the Emerson String Quartet, the quartet also studied extensively with the Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets; members of Canada’s Orford String Quartet; and Denis Brott, Lorand Fenyves, Henry Meyer, and Zoltan Szekely of the Hungarian Quartet. They collaborated with a host of legendary artists, including Menahem Pressler, Todd Palmer, the Emerson, Ying, & Brentano Quartets, conductors Gustavo DudamelMichael Tilson Thomas, Marin Alsop and Peter Oundjian, pianists Stephen Prutsman, Inon Barnatan, Anne-Marie McDermott and Wu Han, cellist David Finckel, among many others. They released award-winning albums on EMI (Schumann String Quartets, Tchaikovsky String Quartets, “Yiddishbbuk” by Osvaldo Golijov); Naxos; Nonesuch; EASonus (Haydn Opus 20); and, most recently, Phenotypic Recordings (Haydn Op. 76 and Korngold’s Piano Quintet). Over the years, the SLSQ were represented by Andrew Kwan Artist Management, Young Concert Artists, EAS Musik Management, Columbia Artists and David Rowe Artists. 

At home and across the globe, the SLSQ inspired and nurtured communities of chamber music enthusiasts and influenced generations of young artists. The quartet was ensemble-in-residence at Spoleto Festival USA for 25 years, building a loyal following and a wide circle of life-long friends and supporters. The foursome believed deeply in the universality of the chamber music experience and brought the same fierce musical integrity to prisons, construction sites, hospitals, living rooms and scientific laboratories as they did  to the venerable stages of the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Hanoi Opera House, and Bing Concert Hall.

In a statement, Lesley Robertson, Christopher Costanza and Owen Dalby remark: “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. 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 concludes with performances in Charleston, SC, La Jolla, and at Stanford University.

St. Lawrence String Quartet 1989-2024

Geoff Nuttall, violin, (co-founding member) 1989-2022

Owen Dalby, violin, 2015-2024

Lesley Robertson, viola, (co-founding member) 1989-2024

Christopher Costanza, cello, 2003-2024


Legacy Members

Barry Shiffman, violin (co-founding member) 1989-2006

Marina Hoover, cello, (co-founding member) 1989-2002

Scott St. John, violin, 2006-2013

Mark Fewer, violin, 2013-2015

Alberto Parrini, cello, 2002-2003


Milina Barry PR