Taking their name from St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, the Cecilia String Quartet is proud to be celebrating its 10th anniversary for the 2014-2015 season. The Quartet was formed in Toronto in October 2004, and after a decade of fruitful musical discovery, they once again reside in Toronto where they are Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music.
Hailed for their “powerful” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “dauntingly perfect” (Berliner Zeitung) performances, the CSQ perform for leading presenters in North America and Europe. Past engagements include performances at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, Northwestern University in Illinois, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and London’s Wigmore Hall. Their live concert recordings have been broadcast on more than a dozen international public radio networks, including Australia (ABC Classical FM), Canada (CBC/SRC), the United States (WQXR), England (BBC Radio 3), and Germany (DeutschlandRadio). Prize-winners at several international competitions, including Osaka (2008) and Bordeaux (2010), they were awarded First Prize at the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC), where they also won the prize for the best performance of the commissioned work.
In addition to performing, the CSQ records for ANALEKTA. Their debut album of music by Dvořák in 2012 was acclaimed for its “deeply felt imperativeness” (The Strad), and their second recording featuring music by Janáček, Berg, and Webern, released a year later in 2013, was applauded for “unleashing the music’s ecstasy and angst” (Gramophone Magazine). Upcoming CD releases are scheduled for 2015 and 2016, and will feature the music of Felix Mendelssohn, as well as new commissions by Canadian composers.
Enthusiastic educators and mentors to the next generation of chamber musicians, the CSQ has held teaching posts at festivals, conservatories, and universities across Canada and the United States, both as an ensemble and as individuals. Their position as Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Toronto involves substantial work with the University’s music performance majors, as well as collaborative projects with the University’s Composition Department and Department of Humanities. Initiatives developed by the CSQ at the University of Toronto include the Music Mentorship Program, and the String Quartet Composition Competition.
Min-Jeong Koh plays on a ca. 1767 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin, and Sarah Nematallah plays on an 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin, both on loan from an anonymous donor. Rachel Desoer performs on the 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts. Caitlin Boyle plays on a 2002 viola by Joseph Curtin. The quartet would like to thank the anonymous donor, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council for their generous support.