News

March 14, 2014


The CSQ embarks on a tour of Europe today, with visits to Germany and France, and debuts in Switzerland and The Czech Republic. Visit our calendar page for more details, and follow us on twitter @ceciliaquartet for the latest tour bulletins.

December 3, 2013


The CSQ is pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural University of Toronto String Quartet Composition Competition: Congratulations to Patrick Neal McGraw! We look forward to premiering his string quartet “Glass” at the University of Toronto New Music Festival on January 29 2014. See our calendar for more details.

November 29, 2013


Laurence Vittes for Gramophone Magazine writes that the CSQ “unleash the music’s ecstasy and angst” and show “a surgical willingness to inflict pain” on their latest album Amoroso. Click here to read the full review.

September 4, 2013


We are thrilled to announce that the CSQ has been awarded the 2013 John Lad Prize from the St. Lawrence String Quartet!

September 1, 2013


Click here to read a nice review of Amoroso in the Strad!

March 10, 2013



Click here to view our music video based on the third movement from Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer Sonata”. Thank you Riddlefilms!

March 4, 2013

Amoroso, our second CD with Analekta, is available online! This recording made possible with generous funding from The Banff Centre through the Freeze Family Career Development Program and the Aurora Fund for the Advancement of String Quartet Music.

February 11, 2013

You can view our concert from Music in the Morning/CBC Rush Hour by clicking here!

November 20, 2012

Click here to read a concert review of our concert in Troy, NY, and click here to view our performance of Beethoven’s Op. 59/2 as a part of WQXR’s Beethoven String Quartet Marathon!

November 5, 2012

On November 18, 2012 the CSQ will be in NYC where they will be featured in WQXR’s Beethoven String Quartet Marathon!

September 26, 2012

A new instrument joins our family!
Rachel is one of the lucky recipients of an instrument loan from this year’s Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank Competition. We’re very excited about how the 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone will fit into the mix.

September 13, 2012

The Cecilia String Quartet is proud to announce that they have recently been appointed Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. Upcoming events as Ensemble-in-Residence include a performance with renowned pianist Menahem Pressler. Click here for details about this concert.

September 12, 2012

Listen to the Cecilia String Quartet and Georgy Tchaidze live in concert on Espace Music, Radio-Canada’s musical network, September 13th 2012 at 8pm.

August 2, 2012

Concert Review: Emotional Fervour from Cecilia String Quartet and Georgy Tchaidze at Toronto Summer Music

Chamber music concerts are so often seen as staid, serious events. But Wednesday night’s Toronto Summer Music performance by Canada’s Cecilia String Quartet and pianist Georgy Tchaidze at Walter Hall was pure excitement.”

Click here to read the full review written by John Terauds.

July 13, 2012

Peter Jacobi, reviewer for the Herald-Times in Bloomington, IN wrote the following article after the CSQ’s concert of three Beethoven works in Auer Hall:

I would feel sad if deprived of so much outstanding music made available to me during this Bloomington summer, and I don’t mean to suggest trading any of it away: the orchestral concerts, the Beethoven quartet cycle, the recitals and other chamber music events.

But just one movement in the Beethoven Opus 59, No. 2 Quartet, as performed Tuesday evening, would have been enough for me to rate the season as special.

It came late in an Auer Hall concert by the Cecilia Quartet, as this superb foursome of women from Canada completed an exciting traversal of Beethoven’s string quartets, a six-concert task shared across a time span of three weeks by four outstanding ensembles.

The Cecilia had chosen the Opus 59, No. 2, to close the cycle. Its second movement is a Molto Adagio of unsurpassed sublimity.

Beethoven’s friend, Carl Czerny, said the Adagio “occurred to him when contemplating the starry sky and thinking of the music of the spheres.” There is a pensive aura to the music, peaceful yet also sad, majestic yet also intimate. I was reminded of the composer’s Heiligenstadt Testament, written five years before the 59-2, in which Beethoven bemoaned his enveloping deafness, his living as if in exile, in which he expressed fear of being misunderstood, in which he insisted that in his inmost soul dwelt “love of man and desire to do good.”

That inner feeling seemed to pour from the Cecilia’s radiant performance, one infectiously lyrical and poignantly serene. One could well imagine Beethoven releasing, in instrumental song, his interior love. “Forget my daily shortcomings,” one could believe he was telling us, “and allow this music to reveal me.” Coming after an intense reading of the multi-themed and busy opening Allegro, and followed by exuberant realizations of an Allegretto with Russian flavor and a Presto Finale of great speed and spring, the Adagio, as played, gained momentous eloquence.

The effect was magical.

Earlier, the four musicians had proved their technical and emotional togetherness in two other Beethoven Quartets: the Opus 18, No. 4, and the Opus 74. The 18-4 contains plenty of drama, along with continuing shifts in temperament and rhythms. For the musicians in the Cecilia, that meant more opportunities to exhibit their keen sense of unity. They created singularity of both sound and approach.

The Opus 74, mistitled by someone as the “Harp” because of rather inconsequential harp-like passages in the first movement, provides far more considerable enticements elsewhere, such as in a glowing Adagio, a propulsive Presto and a lyrical set of closing Variations. The quartet’s performance on Tuesday held admirable cohesiveness and gobs of musicality.

Oh, but that 59-2 Molto Adagio: It was something for the memories.

May 7, 2012

We have just successfully finished an incredible 19-city tour of Eastern Canada organized by the Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. We would like to thank all the presenters, volunteers, and the new friends we made at our concerts in the following cities for making this tour a memorable one:

Jonquière, QC   Baie-Comeau, QC   Matane, QC
Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, QC   Gaspé, QC   Caraquet, NB
Miramichi, NB   Iles-de-la-Madeleine, QC   Summerside, PEI
Bouctouche, NB   Bathurst, NB   Halifax, NS
Dieppe, NB   Fredericton, NB   Edmunston, NB
Dalhousie, NB   Carleton-sur-Mer, QC   Sept-Iles, QC   Port-Cartier, QC

March 13, 2012

The Cecilia String Quartet’s debut recording with ANALEKTA has just been released!

March 11, 2012

We have just returned from playing in Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, New York, and in Winnipeg with pianist Georgy Tchaidze. You can watch a video of us by clicking here!

February 9, 2012

The Cecilia String Quartet’s debut recording with ANALEKTA is scheduled for release March 2012.

Click here to watch the CSQ recording for the album in Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

January 28, 2012

The Cecilia String Quartet is featured in The Globe and Mail’s Fashion and Beauty section for January 28, 2012. Click here to see the article.

January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!! We have uploaded new sound clips on our music page!

December 30, 2011

You can view pictures from our visit to Community Music Works by clicking here!

December 23, 2011

Visit our blog page for some up close and personal (and hilarious) member profiles. :)

August 15, 2011

We are very happy to conclude our season with a performance in the beautiful Pollack Hall for the opening night of MISQA. Click here to read a review from the Montreal Gazette.

August 4, 2011

The Cecilia String Quartet is featured on the cover of the German chamber music magazine Ensemble.  Click here to visit the Ensemble website.

August 3, 2011

CSQ violinist Min-Jeong Koh and her husband, Afiara Quartet cellist Adrian Fung, were interviewed by Keith Horner at the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound.  Click here to watch the interview.

August 2, 2011

New photos from the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival!  Click here.

July 11, 2011

Cecilia Quartet debuts to rave reviews in Bloomington Indiana, at Indiana University’s Auer Hall.


Peter Jacobi, reviewer for Bloomington IN newspaper the Herald-Times, writes that the Cecilia Quartet “has the real goods in craft and musicianship”, and proclaims that the top BISQC winners (the Cecilia and Afiara Quartets) have proven themselves “more than worthy of the honor”.

April 30, 2011

Pictures from our European tour are up on Flickr!

April 11, 2011

The Cecilia String Quartet debuts to great acclaim in Europe. Martin Wilkening, arts critic for the Berliner Zeitung, writes the following about the quartet’s performance at Berlin Konzerthaus on March 31 2011:

Astounding was the musicians’ extreme control of all bizarre mental leaps and insertions dreamed up by Haydn’s imagination.  Enchanting was the sensibility towards the sound, the transitions between melodics and harmonics, which ensured that the relationship between the four instruments unfolded to reveal acute presence at all times.  Amazing was also the mastery that balanced each individual detail against the general rhythmic flow.  Also, in terms of tonal quality, mostly devoid of vibrato and yet intensive, the balance between expressiveness and interplay was almost dauntingly perfect, and the beauty of the tone in the plaintive melodic magic of the slow movement was simply unbeatable.

February 2, 2011

The Cecilia Quartet and Alon Nashman will present Patrick Cardy’s ‘The Snow Queen’ in Ottawa (Feb 18-19) and Vancouver (Feb 24-26).  Click the links below for more information:

Ottawa Chamber Music Society
Music in the Morning (Vancouver)

January 29, 2011

The Cecilia Quartet had a nice chat with Jian Ghomeshi at Q.  Click here to listen to the interview!

January 28, 2011

The Cecilia Quartet announce a 4 album recording deal with ANALEKTA.  First album scheduled to be released Winter 2012.

November 28, 2010

We are on the cover of the The Music Scene Toronto publication of La Scena Musicale!

September 10, 2010
The Cecilia Quartet Announces the Appointment of cellist Rachel Desoer.

This week, founding cellist of the Cecilia String Quartet, Rebecca Wenham, officially resigned her position with the quartet in order to relocate to California and pursue a number of personal projects.  Rebecca departs on a high following the quartet’s success as first Prize winner at the Tenth Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC).

Cellist Rachel Desoer will join the Cecilia in Toronto in their new residency as Quartet Fellows at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music.  The members of the Cecilia Quartet will make their first appearance on stage this season in Toronto as soloists with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra and Maestro Uri Mayer in R. Murray Schafer’s Four Forty at the Koerner Hall as part of Nuit Blanche on October 2nd at 8:00 PM.

Violinist Sarah Nematallah writes: “While we are saddened to lose our friend and colleague Rebecca, we are full of optimism having found Rachel.  Rachel comes to the Quartet with a rich history of chamber music experience, and as she studied with many of the same mentors as the rest of the Cecilia, we speak the same musical language.”

Barry Shiffman, Executive Director of BISQC, states: “Changes in personnel are an inevitable reality of quartet life, and it just so happens that the timing of the Cecilia’s change comes after such a momentous win.  We are, however, pleased to see such a seamless transition, and are looking forward to working with and supporting the Cecilia Quartet in their career development as part of their first-place win at BISQC.”

The Banff International String Quartet Competition

The Banff International String Quartet Competition first-place prize package includes $25,000 (CDN) and extensive concert tours over three years, a Banff Centre residency including the recording and production of a CD, and a quartet of custom bows by renowned bow maker François Malo.  The Competition has also recently created an endowment of over $1.3 million dollars with the generous support of a private gift and federal government matching funds to support an extensive career development program.  The Freeze Family Career Development Fund will allow for concert touring support, new music commissioning funds, residency and educational activity, and publicity and communications support, all in support of our BISQC laureates. It is the only such program of its kind in Canada, and dramatically improves the level of support BISQC provides for emerging careers in chamber music.

About Rachel Desoer

Canadian cellist Rachel Desoer has attended the Juilliard School, McGill University and received her Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College.  Rachel has received many awards and much acclaim through competitions such as the 5th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.  Her performing career includes recitals, chamber concerts, recordings and orchestral tours in North America, Europe, Australia and China.  She joins the Cecilia Quartet this fall.

September 8, 2010

We have a new instrument in our family, the 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume that was given to Sarah Nematallah from an anonymous donor.  Sarah and the quartet would like to thank the anonymous donor for his generosity and support.

September 7, 2010

The Cecilia Quartet has been awarded First Prize and the Canadian Commission Prize at the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) at The Banff Centre.

May 16, 2010

The Cecilia Quartet has been awarded the Prix de la Sacem for the best performance of the commissioned work by Gilbert Amy at the 2010 Concours International de Quatuor à Cordes de Bordeaux.

September 24, 2009

Min-Jeong Koh has won the use of the 1767 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.  She and the quartet would like to thank the anonymous donor and the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous support.

Feb 22, 2009

We are very grateful to the ACCR and ProQuartet for generously supporting our Odyssée Residency Project, Breathing Life into Music (BLiM).