' The St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stanford’s Grammy-nominated resident ensemble, has awarded the Aeolus Quartet its 2012 John Lad Prize. Presented in collaboration with Stanford Live and Vancouver's Music on Main series, the award includes invitations from both organizations to perform during the 2013-14 season.
Currently the Graduate Fellowship String Quartet at the University of Maryland, the Aeolus Quartet studied with the St. Lawrence this past summer during the SLSQ’s Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford. The Aeolus was also the 2012 Quartet in Residence with Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY). “After this year’s seminar the Aeolus Quartet was unanimously nominated,” says the SLSQ’s violist and co-founder Lesley Robertson. “The award recognizes the Aeolus for their already high level of musicianship and also for the passion, the dedication, and the great generosity of spirit, they have demonstrated en route to becoming true ambassadors of chamber music.”
Now in its second year, the Lad prize is named in honor of the SLSQ’s dear friend John Lad (Stanford ’74), a violist and ardent chamber music lover who passed away in 2007. He was a decades-long practitioner of Tai Chi, a regular lecturer in Philosophy and at the time of his death was teaching Tai Chi in the physical education department at Columbia/Barnard University.
The SLSQ was initially introduced to Lad when they were preparing R. Murray Shafer's String Quartet no. 6 (“Parting the Wild Horses Main”), a composition which combines string quartet with the movements of Tai Chi. He went on to perform and tour with the ensemble across North America and Europe for several seasons, and eventually joined each summer for their Chamber Music Seminar. Lad quickly became a fixture at the seminar playing viola in an assigned group, leading early morning Tai Chi classes in Braun Courtyard, playing a Tai Chi based ball toss game with an eager participant, then reading chamber music late into the night.
“John Lad's passion for playing string quartets was addictive,” says SLSQ co-founder and first violinist Geoff Nuttall. “His devotion to music against all odds and his total lack of ego are both qualities that are crucial to the success of any young string quartet. His spirit lives on strongly in our memory and at the seminar. I wish John could hear and play with the Aeolus. He would be honored to have them win a prize in his name!”
THE AEOLUS QUARTET
Praised by Strad Magazine for their “high-octane” performance, the Aeolus Quartet – violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson – has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States, and performed across the globe to great acclaim. Recently, the Aeolus Quartet was the Young Quartet-in-Residence at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in Vail, CO. Summer 2010 also included performances at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, the Perlman Music Program, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar and the Sunflower Music Festival. The Quartet has participated in the Aspen Music Festival's Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, the Young Quartet-in-Residence Program at the Pine Mountain Music Festival and the Jeunesses Musicales International Chamber Course in Weikersheim, Germany. '