"The groups sound was radiant from elegiac Adagio to the defiant
- The Strad Magazine
its intense, focused style of playing, drawing the maximum expression
from every phrase, the quartet presents itself as a group of star
players, the energy radiating from them like the stars."
- Calgary Herald
youthful Borealis String Quartet plays with a passion I haven’t
heard since the heyday of the fabled Budapest Quartet in the 1950s."
- Music at Kohl Mansion, Burlingame, CA
ensemble set a tragic mood with long, gently shaped phrase over
- The Strad Magazine
...combination of superb musicality and impressive technique...Energycharged,
yet still full of nuance, they take the audience on an unforgettable
- Winnipeg News
of the most dynamic and exciting world-class ensembles of its
generation, the Borealis String Quartet has received international
critical acclaim as an ensemble praised for its fiery performances,
passionate style, and refined, musical interpretation.
in Vancouver, British Columbia in the fall of 2000 and rapidly
establishing a stellar reputation, the Borealis has toured extensively
in North America, Europe and Asia and performed to enthusiastic
sold-out audiences in major cities, including New York, Washington,
DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Rome, Mainz, Shanghai, Taipei,
Beijing, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and, of course, in their home
town of Vancouver. Their recent performances on the Beethoven
Series at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and at the Illsley
Ball Nordstrom Hall in Seattle were critically lauded for their
serious and dramatically engaging interpretations. One season,
they were invited to play three times in New York alone, with
performances at the Schneider Concert Series, the People's Symphony
Concerts and at the Rockefeller Centre. In their hometown of Vancouver,
they were invited to perform at the Aboriginal Pavilion during
the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
recent years, the Borealis has also established close ties with
Asia, touring extensively in Taiwan to large sold - out audiences
where their passionate performances of innovative programs combining
eastern and western music has led to offers of yearly repeat invitations.
This invitation extends also to establishing outreach programs
and giving extensive and regular master classes at the major universities
and schools. In 2011, they made their debut in major cities in
China, including in Shanghai and have been touring extensively
in China bringing music of the East and West since then. The recent
success of their tour in 2013 resulted in immediate re-engagements
for the spring of 2014.
Borealis has also served as String Quartet-in-Residence at the
University of British Columbia for the past 10 years. In addition,
they have also been invited to be the Quartet-in-Residence across
North America and Mexico in such places as the June Music Festival
in New Mexico, the Magic City Chamber Music Festival in Alabama,
the Winter Chamber Music Festival in Arizona, Idaho University
and the Aguascalientes Festival in Mexico amongst many others.
In the summers of 2012 and 2013, the Borealis was the Quartet-in-Residence
at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival. Following their
success in Italy, they were invited back to perform for the Canada
Day Celebration July 2013 in Rome, Italy. In addition to performance,
the Borealis has frequently served as jury members for competitions
most recently at the 2012 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music
Competition. The Borealis is also dedicated to bringing music
to the schools and the younger generation and are active in many
regional outreach programs, both in North America and Asia.
2006, the Borealis has been honored to work together with the
Health Arts Society performing Concerts In Care programs for many
people isolated in residential care. This coming season, they
will be involved in a Beethoven Project with Health Arts Society
performing throughout British Columbia. As part of their outreach
and commitment to the community, the Borealis is delighted to
bring their passion and music to audiences who wouldn't normally
have the opportunity to hear the rich experience of live performance.
well as extensive concertizing, the Quartet is frequently heard
on CBC Radio and other radio stations across North America and
Asia. The Borealis has recorded 7 CDs which feature original works
by Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Respighi as well as
music written for them exploring a synergy of classical, fusion,
folk and world music. Their first CD, "Classic Borealis"
on Skylark Record (www.skylark-music.com) has garnered international
critical acclaim. Said one critic, “...This is their first
CD and it is, frankly, amazing... Their takeovers are pure magic
- animated lines passing from violin to viola to cello and back
again...seamless". In 2012, the Borealis released 2 new recordings
of music written especially for them. The first recording titled
Folk Songs is comprised of mainly Taiwanese folk songs written
and arranged by Che-Yi Lee along with audiences favorites like
Deep River and Chrysanthemum by Puccini. The second one, titled
Lullaby, consists of famous lullabies from around the world also
arranged especially for the Borealis.
other mediums to share their passion, the Borealis has also filmed
music videos and short films including Beethoven Opus 59, No.3
which is very often broadcast on Bravo Television and Knowledge
Network and was debuted at the Vancouver International Film Festival.
Although the Borealis is strongly committed to the great traditional
quartet literature, they actively seek to promote new works and
are strong advocates of Canadian music, with works by T. Patrick
Carrabre, R. Murray Schafer, Omar Daniels, Barbara Pentland and
Jocelyn Morlock among others in their repertory. They have also
worked closely with and commissioned music from Kelly-Marie Murphy,
Imant Raminsh, Michael Conway Baker, and American composer Steven
Dankner. BC composer, John Oliver, wrote a work for Zheng (a traditional
Chinese instrument) and string quartet for the Borealis which
was recorded with virtuoso zheng performer Mei Han, entitled Purple
Lotus Bud. They have sought to take these works to many world
stages where their performances have met with great success.
their initial success in Taiwan, the Borealis was generously loaned
a quartet of fine Italian instruments from the CHIMEI Culture
Foundation, one of the leading string instrument collectors in
the world. The beautiful instruments the Borealis performs on
are a Giovanni Battista Rogeri violin (Cremona, 1698), a Lorenzo
Storioni violin (Cremona, c 1780), a Pietro Giovanni Mantegazza
viola (Milano, 1791), and a Lorenzo Storioni cello (Cremona, 1778).
Borealis String Quartet would like to acknowledge the generous
support of the Canada Council and the BC Arts Council. We are
grateful for the financial assistance given to further our artistic
ambitions and vision as well as enable us bring Canadian music
and culture to audiences abroad.