St. Lawrence String Quartet returns to Iowa City for performance and workshop


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The musicians of the St. Lawrence String Quartet have two-part lives.

One part of their lives includes extensive touring and playing concerts for sold-outs shows, but the other part involves teaching college students.

For one day, the St. Lawrence String Quartet will have the chance to leave their students at Stanford University and instead will work with UI students studying chamber music.

 “I find it particularly exciting that we can make that close connection with students and watch their evolving process,” said cellist Christopher Costanza of the St. Lawrence String Quartet. “It’s the art of interpretation and the adventure of discovering something new.”

The quartet will work with the students in a master class at noon on Friday at Riverside Recital Hall, and will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. at Riverside as well. Admission is $10 for students and youth and $37 for seniors and general admission.

Lucy Lewis, a second year doctoral student at the UI receiving her DMA in violin performance and pedagogy, wasn’t originally familiar with the quartet but said it should have been on her radar a lot sooner.

Lewis will play with her quartet in the master class and she hopes to learn and improve some of her skills with the experience.

 “The string quartet is a blending of four people, their opinions, and personalities, so I’ll be really looking forward to how they choose to work with us so we can develop an even better sound,” Lewis said.

Tom Maples, a first- year Master’s student at the UI studying Cello performance will attend the workshop with the quartet.

He first had the chance to see the St. Lawrence String Quartet last year in Michigan when it performed a brand new composition.

 “It was a really astonishing experience and incredible performance by the string quartet,” Maples said. “Getting to watch the amount of interaction they had and the sound they were able to produce in front of an orchestra was very inspiring.”

 When Maples saw the quartet perform he was taken by the amount of energy and overall interaction the group had and he hopes to receive a lot of advice on that aspect of performance.

The UI student is planning to attend the concert in the evening and looks forward to hearing Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s piece Voyage because he has never heard her work before.

“Having an ensemble like the St. Lawrence String Quartet come to the UI is really an amazing opportunity for everyone,” Maples said. “Going to the concert and watching them perform really teaches you a lot about music, where it is going, and what ensembles like [the string quartet] are doing.”

Costanza is looking forward to returning to Iowa City for this performance because he said this community is particularly receptive to chamber music.

“Being able to go back to a place is meaningful because you already kind of have a basis for your visit,” Costanza said. “Doing workshops in communities we don’t live in is meaningful as well because we get to hear students we haven’t before and are able to interact with new minds.”


St. Lawrence String Quartet
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Riverside Recital Hall, 405 N. Riverside
Admission: $10 students and youth, $37 seniors and general public

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