Genre: Classical String Quartet
Years Active: 2013 - Present
The RSQ takes its name from Canadian violinist Thomas Rolston, founder and longtime director of the Banff Centre’s Music and Sound Programs. First-prize winner of the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition, and the 2018 recipient and first international ensemble chosen for Chamber Music America's prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, the quartet continues to receive acclamation and recognition for musical excellence.
Photographs by Ben Gibbs
“[The Rolston String Quartet] chimed the most resonantly with the ideals of perfect quartet playing.”
— Calgary Herald
“This beautifully recorded debut release confirms not only the Rolston String Quartet’s superb technical accomplishment and their impeccably blended sound, but also a maturity of interpretative approach that can only be achieved after long and patient engagement with the music.”
— BBC Music Magazine, Recording of the Year
To us, the Rolston String Quartet, the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is simply irresistible – and so, a debut album containing only his finest chamber works was an obvious choice. Cherished for his memorable and beautifully simplistic melodies, Tchaikovsky’s music is innately joyous, virtuosic, and heart-wrenching, often all at once – yet never violent in nature. As musicians, we adore the charm and childhood nostalgia that Tchaikovsky is able to encompass from start to finish. In this album, we have selected a work from each of his early, middle, and late periods: his String Quartet No. 1 in D major, selections from his Children’s Album, and his beloved Souvenir de Florence for string sextet. Not only could we showcase a quartet that we treasure, but we were given the opportunity to collaborate with two of the Chapel's brilliant professors: violist Miguel da Silva and cellist Gary Hoffman. We gravitate towards Tchaikovsky’s chamber music more than other composers’ because of his stunning ability to write symphonically: right from the opening chords of the D major quartet, Tchaikovsky expands the sonic possibilities of the traditional string quartet towards that of a symphony orchestra. To round out the program are five delicate and endearing pieces: our favourite selections from Tchaikovsky’s Children’s Album for solo piano, arranged for string quartet by Rostislav Dubinsky, the founding first violinist of the Borodin Quartet.