A founding member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Canadian violist Lesley Robertson enjoys a busy career as performer, teacher and director. Worldwide the SLSQ (comprised of violinists Geoff Nuttall, Scott St. John, cellist Christopher Costanza, and Lesley on viola) performs more than 120 concerts each season with recent performances in Finland, Estonia, Belgium, German, and Italy. 2011/2012 takes them across North America, from New York to San Francisco, from Atlantic to Pacific Canada, as well as Western Europe, South America and a third cross-Australia tour.
Though they regularly perform works from the standard string quartet repertoire, the SLSQ is also fervently committed to performing and expanding the works of living composers. This season sees them performing a new work by longtime friend Osvaldo Golijov and a new concerto for string quartet and orchestra by John Adams with the San Francisco Symphony.
Since 1998 the SLSQ has been Artists-in-Residence at Stanford University, where they teach an inspiring bevy of ridiculously intelligent and accomplished students, and perform regularly throughout the campus in traditional concert venues, student dormitories, law school classrooms, and laboratories.
In addition to both performing and teaching, Lesley also directs the SLSQ’s Emerging String Quartet program and the SLSQ’s annual Chamber Music Seminar, both at Stanford. She also directed the SLSQ's 20th Anniversary Commissioning project, a Cross Canada ongoing endeavor which resulted in the creation of five new string quartets by Canadian composers. Those works were performed both in Canada and abroad and led to the SLSQ's most recent CD release "Sea to Sea".
Currently under an exclusive contract with EMI Classics, the SLSQ has received considerable critical acclaim for their recordings, including two Grammy nominations for Yiddishbbuk
, a collection of works by the Argentinean-American composer Osvaldo Golijov; a JUNO Award, granted by the Canadian Academy for Arts and Sciences for Best Classical Album, and the coveted German critic’s award Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for their premiere recording of Robert Schumann Quartets. Recent recordings include the newly released Nonesuch recording of John Adams “String Quartet”, and a self- produced recording of Haydn and Dvorak quartets through the innovative ArtistShare label.
After beginning their studies in Toronto, the dynamic foursome heeded the siren call and co-founded the SLSQ with founding members Geoff Nuttall and Barry Shiffman, violinists; Marina Hoover on cello, and Lesley. They continued their training in New York City with the Emerson, Juilliard, and Tokyo String Quartets while winning both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Young Concert Artists Audition. They then went on to critically acclaimed debuts in New York, Washington, DC, Paris, and beyond.
Lesley has been profiled several times in The Strad magazine and performed many radio interviews with CBC Radio in Canada and other media outlets throughout her travels.
Away from the concert stage, Lesley’s interests expand far beyond the viola. She loves exploring the world with her ebullient daughter Kira; cycling and kayaking; and reading medical literature. Her most recent favourite performance was playing for inmates at a women’s prison in Anchorage, Alaska.