The Rolston String Quartet creates waves of passion

The Mount Allison Performing Arts Series welcomes accomplished Rolston String Quartet to Brunton Auditorium.

Praised for their maturity and cohesion by Ludwig van Toronto, the Rolston String Quartet is said to rival some of the best string quartets in the world. This group took to the stage in Brunton Auditorium on Friday night for a virtuosic and enthralling performance as a part of the New Brunswick leg of their East Coast tour. Their much-anticipated appearance in Sackville was no disappointment and kept the audience on their toes for the entire performance.

The quartet was formed in 2013 at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Chamber Music Residency and is named after Canadian violinist Thomas Rolston. Luri Lee, Emily Kruspe, Hezekiah Leung and Jonathan Lo collaborate with immense passion to create award-winning performances all over Canada, the United States, and Europe. In fact, the group holds prestigious awards, including first prize at both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the 31st Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They also recently received the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America. This group is one to watch.

As the performers of the 12th annual J.E.A. Crake concert, the Rolston Quartet’s program consisted of three pieces which displayed their skill, dedication to craft and commitment to making music with each other. The program began with a Haydn string quartet and finished a Beethoven string quartet, which bookended the performance perfectly. However, the most intriguing part of the performance was the second piece of the program.

Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer’s String Quartet no. 2, Waves, was the highlight of the evening. This 17-minute piece showcases Schafer’s fascination with marine soundscapes and highlights his research studying the sonic qualities of water. The audience was engulfed by the the ebbs and flows of the composed texture of waves in Schafer’s work. Through his research, Schafer found that, although each wave sounds different, they each stay within a period of between six to 11 seconds. This is exactly how he chose to structure his quartet. Each phrase ranges widely in texture and tone but has one commonality: six-to-11 second phrases.

The Performing Arts Series at Mt. A. has brought well-respected and talented musicians to Sackville for years, and this year is no exception. The Rolston String Quartet provided a way for our quaint town to connect not only with each other but also with exceptional Canadian artists. Keep an eye on the Performing Arts Series calendar for more upcoming concerts.

Maggie Pitman
Maggie Pitman is a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Music with a minor in international politics. She enjoys writing in many different styles and is excited to be a part of the Argosy staff for the 2018-2019 school year.