Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State
Members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet stand together.

St. Lawrence String Quartet 2011


"These are fearless musicians," writes a Washington Post critic, "whose spontaneity stretches past conventional interpretation and probes the music's imaginative limits." Violinist Geoff Nuttall and violist Lesley Robertson, founding members, are joined by cellist Christopher Costanza and violinist Scott St. John.

Artist website: St. Lawrence String Quartet

Size does matter

Size does matter, especially when you need to squeeze a group of musicians into someone’s living room. The “living rooms” of the Classical period were actually palace chambers.

Chamber music is written for a small ensemble of instruments. The word chamber highlights that the music is performed in an intimate atmosphere. Chamber music, sometimes referred to as “the music of friends,” was played in Classical-era salons and chambers by amateur musicians to entertain friends, relatives, and often themselves. Most of today’s chamber music is heard in concert halls, but some artists still enjoy playing together in the intimate atmosphere for which the genre was named.

1Project Events

Master class

3:30 – 4:45 p.m. October 10, 2011
Music Building I’s Esber Recital Hall

St. Lawrence String Quartet coached a master class for Penn State School of Music string students. Professor of Music James Lyon led the session. This event was open to the public.

Salon Evening

7 p.m. October 10, 2011
Assembly Room at the Nittany Lion Inn

The public was invited to a free Beethoven Salon Evening at the Nittany Lion Inn Assembly Room. The ninety-minute event featured the St. Lawrence String Quartet performing excerpts of Beethoven quartets, with discussion led by faculty from the School of Music.

CPA Staff Meeting

11:30 a.m. October 11, 2011
Conference Room Eisenhower Auditorium

St. Lawrence String Quartet met with the Center for the Performing Arts staff to discuss their upcoming concert and answer questions about their life and work. This event was not open to the public.

Music 005 class visit

2:30 p.m. October 11, 2011
111 Forum Building

St. Lawrence String Quartet visited Music 005, a general education music class, to discuss the works of Beethoven and play excerpts from their concert. This event was not open to the public.

Main Performance

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Schwab Auditorium

Ludwig van Beethoven’s string quartets are among the crowning achievements of chamber music. The St. Lawrence String Quartet, ensemble-in-residence at Stanford University, inaugurates a three-season Center for the Performing Arts program featuring the complete Beethoven quartet cycle. The St. Lawrence, formed in Toronto in 1989, “[makes] a convincing case for being the top quartet of the post-Emerson generation,” asserts a reviewer for A New York Times critic lauds the ensemble’s “rare gift for combining interpretive spontaneity and fierce musical commitment.” First violinist Geoff Nuttall and violist Lesley Robertson, founding members, are joined by cellist Christopher Costanza and second violinist Scott St. John. The program includes the quartets in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5, and C sharp minor, Op. 131.

Download program notes


Adult $40  |  University Park Student $15  |  18 and Younger $32

Complimentary round-trip shuttle service is provided between the Eisenhower Parking Deck and Schwab Auditorium.


Nina C. Brown Endowment

Artistic Viewpoints

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring St. Lawrence String Quartet musicians and Marie Sumner Lott, Penn State assistant professor of musicology, is offered in Schwab Auditorium one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders.

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