The St. Lawrence String Quartet at Stanford


Photo: Eric Cheng


The St. Lawrence String Quartet at Stanford

The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation. Its mission: bring every piece of music to the audience in vivid color, with pronounced communication and teamwork, and great respect to the composer.

Since winning both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1992, the SLSQ has delighted audiences with its spontaneous, passionate, and dynamic performances. Alex Ross of The New Yorker magazine writes, “The St. Lawrence are 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.”

The artists have served on Stanford’s music faculty and as the university’s ensemble-in-residence since 1998. First violinist and founding member Geoff Nuttall began playing the violin at the age of eight after moving to London, Ontario, from Texas. Violist and founding member Lesley Robertson began her training in Canada and met Nuttall in 1980. Cellist Christopher Costanza joined the ensemble in 2003 after performing for many years with the Chicago String Quartet. The newest member of the quartet, violinist Mark Fewer, originally from Newfoundland, made his debut in 2014.

Annual Chamber Music Seminar

This intensive program is designed for those with a serious ongoing interest in chamber music and follows a rigorous schedule of study and performance in a uniquely supportive environment, blending advanced students destined for careers in music performance with adult amateurs. Visit the seminar home page for in-depth information about the Chamber Music Seminar. The 2014 Chamber Music Seminar will be held on the Stanford University Campus Friday, June 20 - Sunday, June 29. Applications for the 2014 seminar are available now! Applications must be submitted by February 15, 2014. | Application Form

Emerging String Quartet Program

The ESQP offers an intensive week of community outreach which provides a young ensemble opportunities similar to what the SLSQ enjoyed in their early years. The up-and-coming musicians are encouraged to interact with audience and develop both their skills as performers and as community builders. The ensembles gain valuable experience presenting to multiple and varied audiences in a short period of time while the greater Stanford community benefits from the input of energy and contact with the young ensemble. Find out more about the current EQSP fellows here.


The SLSQ presents free noon-hour concerts and special events on the Stanford campus and the wider Palo Alto community. Watch this space for schedules and information on upcoming concerts.

“Why Music Matters”at SPCS

The “Why Music Matters” course, offered by Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies, is an intensive exploration of the inner workings of music from many different perspectives across a wide span of time: music theory and history, cultural history, and music technology. Students learn to listen critically to a range of music, both classical and popular, and gain analytical skills to probe into how a piece of music is composed. Students are given opportunities to create and perform their own compositions. Participants also have a unique opportunity to attend live performances and discussions with the world-famous St. Lawrence String Quartet, as well as guest performers of jazz and world music. The course culminates in a final project of student compositions, performance, and/or analysis of music.

Session: TBA
Prerequisite(s): An ability to read music. A knowledge of some basic music theory is helpful but not essential.
Age and grade requirements: 9th, 10th, or 11th grade in Spring, and age 14 - 17 by the time the class begins.

SLSQ Chamber Music Program at Stanford

The SLSQ offers masterclasses, student chamber music concerts, chamber orchestra concerts, and special projects on the Stanford campus in partnership with the Department of Music. Watch this space for schedules and information on upcoming concerts.


Generous support from individuals makes the SLSQ's unique programs at Stanford possible. Please consider making a donation today so we can continue to offer the finest in training and opportunities to young musicians.

Thank you!


Please visit the official SLSQ website for everything SLSQ. Email here for information on the SLSQ's activities at Stanford, or join our Mailing List to receive notices about concerts, announcements, and the Chamber Music Seminar.

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Sponsors: Stanford Department of Music, the School of Humanities and Sciences, and the Stanford Arts Institute.