The Quartuor Saguenay formerly the Alcan Quartet), has developed a reputation for excellence throughout Canada and internationally since its formation over twenty years ago. The quartets 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 Quartuor Saguenay 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 1000 concerts; over 100 live radio broadcasts (Radio Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio in the USA, and Radio France); 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.
Applauded by The Washington Post as “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music,” and by The New Yorker as “independent-minded,” PUBLIQuartet’s creative programming lends a fresh perspective to the Classical music scene. Dedicated to presenting new works for string quartet, PUBLIQuartet was selected as Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places Ensemble at the 2013 CAG Competition, and then garnered Chamber Music America’s 2015 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award for outstanding and innovative approaches to contemporary classical, jazz, and world chamber music. PQ’s genre-bending programs span the classical canon and also feature open-form improvisations that expand the techniques and aesthetic of the traditional string quartet.
These distinctive qualities led New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to name PUBLIQuartet as 2016-17 MetLiveArts Ensemble-in-Residence, featuring a series of concerts in various spaces at the Met, including the Cloisters, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, and the Met’s new Breuer space. The unique programs created by PQ for each performance included such collaborators as Andy Akiho, Ian Rosenbaum, Nadia Sirota, Helga Davis, and James Carter. Those successes for MetLiveArts have led to a busy 2017-18 touring season across the US, featuring their DC debut on the Washington Performing Arts series and a special performance of John Corigliano’s epic String Quartet at Wolf Trap, celebrating the composer’s 80th birthday.
Recent career highlights include PQ’s Lincoln Center debut on the Great Performers series, and a sold-out Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall, along with a wide variety of venues/festivals including BAM Café, Le Poisson Rouge and Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in NYC, Detroit Jazz Festival. and a special appearance with Grammy-winning pianist/composer Billy Childs at the Newport Jazz Festival. In 2016, PUBLIQuartet was selected by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to perform a 90-minute improvised “soundtrack” to the final Presidential Debate, streamed live on the Late Show’s Facebook page, which has over one million views.
PUBLIQuartet’s commitment to support emerging composers inspired their innovative program, PUBLIQ Access, designed in 2014 to promote emerging composers and to present a wide variety of under-represented music for string quartet–from classical, jazz and electronic, to non-notated, world and improvised music. In addition to annual PUBLIQ Access showcase concerts at NYC’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music and at Boston’s First Church, the group features at least one PQ Access composition on every concert program. The best of these works are included on PUBLIQuartet’s new self-titled debut album, which was released in fall-2015 on CAG Records, and they will premiere three brand new works during the 2017-18 season, written for PQ by Jessica Meyer, Steven Snowden and Xian Wang.
Other current projects include the original program MIND|THE|GAP, described by The Strad as “ingenious hybrids…bridging the divide between diverse musical genres through group improvisation,” which PQ developed in 2011 to generate interest in new music while also engaging traditional classical music audiences.
PUBLIQuartet is sought after for its creative and energetic educational workshops. The quartet’s mission to enrich and inspire students of diverse backgrounds has led PQ to hold residencies with American Composers Orchestra and Deer Valley Music Festival’s “Emerging Quartets and Composers” program, among others.
Founded in 2010, PUBLIQuartet has been presented by The American Composers Orchestra, Virginia Arts Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and The Chautauqua Institution. PQ has collaborated with members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), JACK Quartet, jazz tuba legend Bob Stewart, and innovative jazz clarinetist/composer Don Byron. Mentors include members of the Muir, Juilliard, Orion, Mendelssohn, Tokyo, American, and Brentano String Quartets and composers Joan Tower and Butch Morris. They have participated in residencies at the Juilliard String Quartet Institute, Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, the Shouse Institute (GLMF), and the Banff Centre.
Veterans of orchestral and chamber music performance and members of Port Milford's core Artist Faculty, the Port Milford Chamber Players (Marie Berard, Rohan Gregory, Angela Rudden and Paul Widner) come together each summer to coach young musicians and to perform in concert with technical distinction and a sensitive rapport.
Praised for their "emotional investment" and "decisive" interpretations (Toronto Star) and "intense" and "hot-blooded" performances (Globe and Mail), the Tokai Quartet is one of Canada's leading string quartets. In September 2007, the quartet became prizewinners at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the first Canadian group to do so since 1992. The vibrancy that this exciting young ensemble brings to their performances is gaining them enthusiastic audiences across Canada, and has earned the Tokai Quartet a growing demand for performances at concert series across the country.