Alcan Quartet, Canada, 2009

Tour Dates: 16 Oct - 26 Oct, 2009

"They brought a lightness of touch to it that, especially in the first movement, contrasts sharply with the portentousness that we normally hear. The effect was lovely… a fine sense of sonority”

- Ottawa Citizen (Canada), August 2007

Laura Andriani - violin
Nathalie Camus - violin
Luc Beauchemin – viola
David Ellis - cello

The Alcan Quartet - violinists Laura Andriani and Nathalie Camus, violist Luc Beauchemin, and cellist David Ellis - has developed a reputation for excellence throughout Canada and internationally since its formation over sixteen 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 Alcan Quartet 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.In addition its performing career, the quartet is regularly invited to give master classes at universities, conservatories, and summer chamber music institutes.

The Alcan Quartet is based in Chicoutimi, Québec where it receives the unconditional support of the Orchestre Symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. The quartet takes its name from its principal patron, the multinational aluminum company Alcan. The quartet also receives support from the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Laura Andriani

Born August 19 1975, studied at the Conservatory of Music G Verdi in Torino where she graduated aged 17 under the tuition of Elena Guizzardi. Laura went on to study at the Musik Akademie der Stadt Basel (Switzerland) where she took a Solisten-Diplom under the tuition of Adelina Oprean in 1996. She has also partecipated to several masterclasses held by Franco Gulli since 1993 (Riva Music Festival, Biella, Konservatorium Luzern). Since 1996 she has been one of the selected participants of the International Classes of the most important italian Academy of Strings founded in Italy by Salvatore Accardo , Bruno Giuranna, Rocco Filippini and Franco Petracchi. Laura won first prizes in ten important italian competitions for young musicians since she was ten years old. In 1997 she won the most important italian competition for violin in Vittorio Veneto and she obtained the Special Prize for the best interpretation of the XX century violin composition at the XLIV International Violin Competition Premio Paganini in Genoa playing the Sequenza VIII by Luciano Berio.She founded in 1998 the Andriani String Quartet which was a young group which studied under the tuition of Piero Farulli (Quartetto Italiano) and Milan Skampa (Smetana Quartet). When Laura was the leader of this string quartet she took part to the Amadeus Summer Courses held by Norbert Brainin, Sigmund Nissel and Martin Lovett at the Royal Academy of Music in London and to the Courses at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh (Suffolk, England). In 1999 the Andriani String Quartet became the quartet in residence of the Aldeburgh Festival and won the International Competion for Chamber Music Viotti in Vercelli and the Special Prize Leos Janacek of the Musikhochschule of Wien. Laura played as soloist with the Basler Sinfonie-Orchester, with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, with the Orchestre Symphonique du Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Nuevo Mundo in Mexico City. As a chamber music player, she performed in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Holland, England, Czech Republic, United States, Canada and China. She also played in groups specialized in the performance of contemporary music (Sentieri Selvaggi and Divertimento Ensemble in Milan) and she played in the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. In the spring 2003, after the selections of 154 candidates, she participated in the Concours International de Montréal des Jeunesses Musicales. She was the only italian violinist admitted and obtained a big success entering to the finals which were live broadcasted by Radio Canada, Art Tv and diffused by internet. Laura Andriani’s performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto was lyrical and poetic. Although her playing reminded the listener that she hails from Italy — where lyricism in violin playing remains highly cherished and cultivated — she is an individual, with a manner of expression uniquely her own. The sense of individuality and newness that infuses her artistry makes her worth watching and listening to. Since the summer 2003, Laura Andriani is the first violinist of the Quatuor Alcan.

Nathalie Camus 

Born in Montréal, studied at the St Louis Conservatory of Music in Missouri, under the tutelage of Taras Gabora. She performed in classes of Henryk Szerying, Isaac Stern, Franco Gulli and studied chamber music with (Budapest Quartet) and Micheal Tree (Guarneri Quartet). She spent summers at the Grand Teton festival in Wyoming, the Banff Center for the Arts in Alberta, and participated in masterclasses given by the Melos Quartet at the Hindemith Institute in Switzerland.Nathalie Camus was a member of the Detroit Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and Les Violons du Roy before co-founding the Alcan Quartet in 1989. In addition to her position in the quartet Ms. Camus is the concertmistress of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Symphony Orchestra. She has toured throughout North America and Europe. Nathalie is Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the Quebec Conservatory of Music in Chicoutimi Québec.

Luc Beauchemin

Born in Quebec City and graduated from Laval University where he was a student of György Terebesi. His studies continued in France where he participated in classes of Ludmila Choubina and Yuri Bashmet. He spent several summers at the Banff Center for the Arts in Alberta, Canada studying chamber music with Zoltan Szekely of the Hungarian Quartet.Luc was a member of the Artur Leblanc Quartet  before joining the Alcan Quartet in 1994. He has performed chamber music with the Orford Quartet, André Laplante, Rosemarie Landry, Maureen Forester, Denis Brott, Rostislav Dubinsky, and Eugene Drucker. Luc is principal viola of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Symphony Orchestra. He teaches violin and chamber music at the Quebec Conservatory of Music in Chicoutimi.

David Ellis ­

Raised in Vermont, studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston, and graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he was a student of David Soyer, cellist of the Guarneri String Quartet. He has worked with Janos Starker, André Navara, and Maurice Gendron among others.From 1982 to 1987, Mr. Ellis played in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under conductor Leonard Slatkin, touring throughout the United States and Far East. In 1988 he was appointed co-principal cellist of the chamber orchestra I Musici de Montreal and in1989 became a founding member of the Alcan Quartet.In conjunction with his responsibilities in the quartet, Mr. Ellis is principal cellist of the Orchestre Symphonique de Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. Since 1997 he has held the position of professor of cello at the Quebec Conservatory of Music in Chicoutimi, and been a visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the University of Montreal. He given masterclasses throughout Québec and in Central America.

Reviews

“They brought a lightness of touch to it (the Debussy Quartet) that, especially in the first movement, contrasts sharply with the portentousness that we normally hear. The effect was lovely… a fine sense of sonority”

- Ottawa Citizen (Canada), August 2007

“Endings of movements often presented high points in the performance, invoking gasps of delight and surprise from the audience, who picked up on the clever conceptions and executions of the dying phrases.”

- The Record (Canada), August 2007

“… les sonorités sont chaleureuses, la mis en place impeccable…”  

- Diapason (France), July 2007

“Le Quatuor Alcan interprets the emotion of these pages with great eloquence which is further enhanced by the wonderful sound and the magnificent acoustic of the Françoys-Bernier Concert Hall at the Domaine Forget.”

- L’actualité (Québec), May 2007

“The musicians give it (Mendelssohn Quartet Op. 80) an intense yet restrained reading that still amply conveys the heartache. The playing is graceful and poised as it shows how rich and complex Mendelssohn’s music could be.” 

- The Toronto Star (Canada), February 2007

“Vibrant sonority and strong feeling by the Alcan Quartet… the Adagio (Mendelssohn Op. 87) is gripping. This Chicoutimi-based ensemble has found its voice.” 

-The Gazette (Québec), February 2007

“The performers’ preferred way of playing is straightforward and devoid of ostentation, in this refined and yet unaffected manner that is the trademark of great musicians. Most noticeable is their sense of rhythm, naturally flowing, that allows them to almost instinctively attain unity and smoothness of phrasing.”

- Le Soleil (Québec), October 2006

“The Chicoutimi based Alcan Quartet is sounding better than ever with newcomer Laura Andriani in the first violin chair. Add rich balanced sound and you have a disc that is totally worth owning.”

- The Gazette (Québec), January 2006

“… the Chicoutimi based Alcan Quartet is sounding better than ever with newcomer Laura Andriani in the first violin chair. Add rich balanced sound… and this is a disc that is totally worth owning.”

- The Gazette (Québec), January 2006

“The four musicians have a wonderful sense for dynamics and maintain an attention to detail throughout that is admirable. …maverlous sonority and magnificent ensemble playing …a truly sublime interpretation!” - L'Acadie Nouvelle (Canada), July 2005

“The Alcan Quartet takes us beyond the written page, opening up a world filled with life and humor, the essence of the spirit of the music itself. All performed with a simplicity, and a refinement of taste, of the highest degree.”

- Le Devoir (Québec), February 2004

“The Alcan Quartet gave a beautiful performance of Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F major… the four members of the quartet collaborate marvelously well together.”

- ResMusica (France), July 2003

“… this is the Alcan Quartet at the peak of its form. The control of their sonority, or better yet, their sonorities, is miraculous!” 

- La Presse (Québec), August 2002

“In a strong performance, the players communicated the passion of the piece (Debussy quartet). The second movement, with its famous pizzicato passages, was a dazzling display of virtuosity, rhythms well controlled and the drive sustained throughout.”

- San Francisco Classical Voice (USA), August 2001

“The Alcan Quartet is well on its way to establishing itself as Canada’s national quartet.” - Le Devoir (Québec), December 1999

“Opus Award (Recording of the year), an extraordinarily dramatic interpretation (Schubert) in which the four young musicians seem to breath in unison.”

- La Presse (Québec)

“A fresh, delightful disc. The Alcan Quartet is perfect for this music (Mozart)… they have mastered the sense of relaxed conversational intimacy that is the essence of Mozart’s quartet writing.” - American Record Guide (USA)

“Attention to detail and a superb mastery on the part of the performers… they are totally convincing.” 

- Diapason (France)

“The world according to Alcan is transparent and open, with a most inviting coherence.”

- Le Soleil (Québec)

“… the Alcan Quartet’s new Schubert CD offers an extraordinarily dramatic reading, animated by a rare unity of respiration between the four young partners.

- La Presse (Québec)

“This is a fresh, delightful disc. The Alcan Quartet is perfect for this music. Tempos are elastic where they should be, and there is a wealth of nuance but no trace of fussiness or eccentricity. The players always pinpoint just the right mood for each moment, and they know how to make this music sound natural and its incidents obvious and inevitable. They have a firm grasp of the peculiar combination of unpretentious urbanity and innocence that are the essence of Mozart’s unique beauty. Above all, they have mastered the sense of relaxed conversational intimacy that is the essence of Mozart’s quartet writing.”

- American Record Guide (USA)

“A superb sonority from each member of the quartet… combined with an exceptional sense of ensemble. The ‘Serenade Italian’ of Wolf sparkles with a marvelous freshness and a very seductive elegance”                                                                                              

- Diapason (France)

“An elegant and eloquent use of their bows in Debussy, an irresistible romantic flavor in the Borodin, humor and freshness in the Wolf” 

- La Presse (Québec)

“A very agreeable moment spent in excellent company. The performers play the seducers and the role fits them marvelously”                                                                                                                                                      - Le Devoir (Québec)

“The Alcan Quartet has a full rich sound combined with an excellent blend which is well suited to the sophisticated harmonies of Prévost’s music. …a significant achievement should be included in any serious collection of contemporary music.”

- Érudit (Québec)


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