St. Lawrence Quartet Hires Second Violinist with Jazz Chops

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In the latest in a series of turnovers among high-ranking string quartets this year, the St. Lawrence Quartet announced last week that Mark Fewer will replace Scott St. John as the ensemble’s second violinist, starting in January.

The St. Lawrence, which was founded in Toronto in 1989 and is currently the resident string quartet at Stanford University, stuck to its Canadian roots by hiring Fewer. He was formerly the concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony and his eclectic resume includes work as a jazz violinist and a session player in Montreal. He has also been an associate professor of violin at McGill University in Montreal since 2007, a post he's leaving to join the Stanford faculty. He previously substituted for the St. Lawrence’s violinists during their respective paternity leaves.

“We have the greatest respect and admiration for [Fewer's] first-rate violin playing and brilliant musicianship, and we feel that his great energy and musical goals are entirely consistent with those of the SLSQ,” said St. Lawrence cellist Christopher Costanza in an e-mail.

St. John, who joined the quartet in 2006, declined to comment on his departure, only to say in an e-mail that he “wishes the SLSQ all best wishes for the future.” Costanza said that St. John is looking to cut back on performing and frequently living out of a suitcase in order to spend more time with his family in London, Ontario. The St. Lawrence gives around 100 concerts a year, touring throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Fewer will be the St. Lawrence's third second violinist. His hiring comes after two other prominent personnel changes this year: in January the cellist Paul Watkins replaced David Finckel in the Emerson Quartet; in July, Roger Tapping succeeded Samuel Rhodes in the Juilliard Quartet.

Below: Watch the St. Lawrence Quartet in The Greene Space in 2012:

This post has been updated to reflect the number of concerts the St. Lawrence Quartet gives annually, which is about 100 a year, not 75.