"...radiant from elegiac Adagio to the defiant Final."
- The Strad Magazine
“…sheer and refined…a dynamic performance that moved effortlessly.”
- Montreal Gazette
"Light used to be faster than sound, until these people came along."
- The Hamilton Spectator
One 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.
Founded 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.
In 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 masterclasses at the major universities and schools. In 2011, they
made their debut in major cities in China, including in Shanghai and will be
touring extensively in China bringing music of the East and West in April
and May of 2013.
The 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 summer of 2012, the Borealis was
the Quartet-in-Residence at the Casalmaggiore International Music
Festival. Following their success, they have been invited back and will also
be performing for the Canada Day Celebration this coming July, 2013 in
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.
Since 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 performing his works to over 100 different places across
the province of BC. 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.
As well as extensive concertizing, the Quartet is frequently heard on CBC
Radio and other radio stations across North America and Asia. They have
released 7 CDs, 3 of which feature works by Beethoven, Schubert,
Mendelssohn, Grieg, and Respighi. 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 Chrisanthemum by Puccini. The
second one, titled Lullaby, consists of famous lullabies from around the
world also arranged especially for the Borealis.
Exploring 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
After 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
The Borealis String Quartet would like to acknowledge the generous
support of the Canada Coucil and the BC Arts Council. We are grateful for
the financial assisance given to further our artistic ambitions and vision as
well as enable us bring Canadian music and culture to audiences abroad.
" The ensemble set a tragic mood with long, gently shaped phrase over throbbing accompaniment. "
- The Strad Magazine
" ...combination of superb musicality and impressive technique...Energy-charged, yet still full of nuance, they take the audience on an unforgettable ride "
- Winnipeg News
AT THE REQUEST OF THE ARTIST, PLEASE DO NOT ALTER THIS BIOGRAPHY WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL.
2012/2013 Season - PLEASE DISCARD ALL PREVIOUSLY DATED MATERIALS