The Lafayette String Quartet (left) and the Saguenay Quartet will share the stage at the Fanny Bay Hall, Saturday, Jan. 13. (Photo supplied)

Two renowned quartets to share stage at Fanny Bay Hall

Jan. 13 concert will feature Saguenay Quartet and Lafayette String Quartet

Saturday, Jan. 13, sees two of Canada’s leading string quartets joining forces to present an exciting evening of classical music, preceded by a choice of delicious desserts, all at the Fanny Bay Hall.

The Saguenay Quartet (formerly Alcan Quartet) — violinists Laura Andriani and Nathalie Camus, violist Luc Beauchemin, and cellist David Ellis — has developed a reputation for excellence throughout Canada and internationally since its formation more than 20 years ago. The quartet’s originality, contagious enthusiasm, unique sonority, and remarkable cohesion have all contributed to its long term success. Critics agree that, both on stage and in the recording studio, the Alcan Quartet possesses the qualities that characterize the best ensembles of its kind: a recognizable personality, a homogeneous sound and elegant style.

The ensemble’s list of accomplishments is impressive: close to 1,000 concerts; more than 100 live radio broadcasts; numerous television appearances; tours throughout North America, Europe, Asia; and a number of commissioned pieces and first performances.

The quartet’s discography includes major works from the string quartet repertoire including Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Dvorak, Debussy, Borodin, and others. These recordings have received adulatory reviews in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The quartet won the “Prix Opus, recording of the year” for its CD of Schubert Quartets.

Lafayette String Quartet

In July 1986, four young musicians, based in Detroit and just beginning their professional careers, performed together for the first time as the Lafayette String Quartet. Today the LSQ continues to flourish with its original personnel: violinists Ann Elliott-Goldschmid and Sharon Stanis, violist Joanna Hood, and cellist Pamela Highbaugh Aloni.

For five years, the LSQ remained in Detroit, where its members taught at the Center for Creative Studies/Institute of Music and Dance and at nearby Oakland University. Meanwhile, the LSQ itself received coaching from two of the world’s most esteemed quartets—the Amadeus and the Alban Berg—and from the violinist Rostislav Dubinsky, of the legendary Borodin Quartet, who served as the women’s “musical mentor” until his death in 1997.

The LSQ’s extraordinary musicianship was recognized early on. Already in 1988, it was ranked among the magazine Musical America’s “Young Artists to Watch,” and in its first years it won the Grand prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and prizes at the Portsmouth (now City of London) International String Quartet Competition, and the Chicago Discovery Competition. As winners of the 1988 Cleveland String Quartet Competition, the LSQ had the opportunity to study for two years with the Cleveland Quartet at the Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, New York.

In 1991, the four women became artists-in-residence at the University of Victoria’s School of Music, in British Columbia—positions they still hold today. They received honorary doctorates from University Canada West and were honored with the inaugural Craigdarroch Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression in 2010 from the University of Victoria.

The program includes music by Mendelssohn, Neil Gade and the premier performance of a brand new work by Airat Ichmouratov.

This will indeed be a memorable evening of elegant music and desserts, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 6.

Tickets ($30 including dessert, coffee etc.) are available from Laughing Oyster Books in Courtenay, Weinberg’s Good Foods in Buckley Bay, and Salish Sea Market in Bowser.

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