About The Isabel Quartet:
The Dan School of Drama and Music has established our own string quartet for many reasons. Certainly, one hope is that the fine example of the Isabel Quartet will help us to recruit the very best string players to the Queen’s Bachelor of Music program.
Another interest we have is in fostering the further growth of chamber music—including works of chamber opera—at the Dan School. But an equal motivation was the opening of the Isabel Bader Performing Arts Centre in 2014. With The Isabel, Kingston and Queen's has a world-class concert hall that is an acoustical gem. One of the very best ways to experience the awesome potential of this hall is through the performance of a string quartet, so we were excited by the idea of establishing our own resident string quartet to regularly present concerts.
The Isabel Quartet presented its inaugural concert in June 2016 and then opened the Dan School of Drama and Music’s Faculty Artist Series with a concert in October of the same year.
In the 2017/18 season, the quartet will present two concerts on the Faculty Artist Series as well as being the featured performers at the Queen’s University Grant Hall Society’s Kingston celebration at the Isabel in October 2017.
The quartet has also planned a number of yearly recruitment events. We anticipate that the quartet will have its own three-concert series under the umbrella of the Faculty Artist Series at the Isabel Centre for the Performing Arts in 2018/19.
LAURA ANDRIANI, Violin
Laura Andriani excels in repertoire from classic to contemporary eras—both as a soloist and chamber musician—as well as having extensive experience with baroque repertoire, particularly the music of J.S. Bach. As a chamber musician, Laura has performed in Europe, Canada, the United States, China and Korea. She has also been part of ensembles specializing in the interpretation of contemporary music and orchestras such as the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala (Milan). She became the first violin of the Alcan Quartet (now named the Saguenay Quartet) in 2003. The Alcan Quartet's discography includes the complete Beethoven quartet cycle. In Montreal she is currently the Concertmistress of “Les Idées Heureuses.”
GISÈLE DALBEC SZCZESNIAK, Violin
Gisèle Dalbec-Szczesniak has been the Concertmaster of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra since 1989. She teaches violin, chamber music and is the String Area Coordinator at the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen's University. Her studies began in Cornwall and Montréal, then on to the Universities of Toronto and Yale. String quartet repertoire has always been a love of hers, honing her skills at the Banff Centre with her first quartet, the Riverdale SQ back in her teens. Other chamber music institutes followed both in the US and abroad. Gisèle and pianist Michel Szczesniak have produced 2 CDs, Notes to Myself and Bow and Ivory, and Gisèle can be heard as a soloist with the KSO, on their CD, A Symphonic Tapestry.
ISAAC CHALK, Viola
Isaac Chalk is a graduate of McGill University where he won the prestigious Golden Violin Award in 2012. Isaac also holds a degree from the Mozarteum, in Salzburg. In February 2011, he had his Koerner Hall debut performing Béla Bartók’s Viola Concerto with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra conducted by Julian Kuerti. Mr. Chalk was named Principal Viola of les Violons du Roy in June 2013 and since then has performed with the orchestra in their regular series in Quebec City and Montreal, at the Lanaudière Festival, at the Domaine Forget International Festival and on tour in Canada, the United States and Europe. Mr. Chalk recently had his début with the orchestra in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.
WOLF TORMANN, Cello
Wolf Tormann studied with Janos Starker and Arto Noras. Before moving to Canada he held orchestral positions with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Opera Halle and the Metropolitan orchestra in Lisbon. He has performed solo recitals in Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Portugal, the United States and Canada. The Hamilton Spectator described him as a 'musician of high artistry'. Wolf frequently plays in the cello section of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and he is the principal cellist of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. Wolf teaches cello and chamber music at the Dan School of Drama and Music and at Queen's Community Music.