The Alcan Quartat
Friday, October 19, 2012
The Alcan Quartet, violinists Laura Andriani and Nathalie Camus, violist Luc Beauchemin, and cellist David Ellis, has developed a reputation for excellence throughout Canada and internationally since its formation over twenty years ago. The quartet’s originality, contagious enthusiasm, unique sonority, and remarkable cohesion have all contributed to its long term success. Critics agree that, both on stage and in the recording studio, the Alcan Quartet possesses the qualities that characterize the best ensembles of its kind: a recognizable personality, a homogeneous sound, and an elegant style.
The ensemble’s list of accomplishments is impressive: close to 1000 concerts; over 100 live radio broadcasts (Radio Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio in the USA, and Radio France); numerous television appearances; tours throughout North America, Europe, Asia; and a number of commissioned pieces and first performances.
The quartet’s discography includes major works from the string quartet repertoire including Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Dvorak, Debussy, Borodin, and others. These recordings have received adulatory reviews in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The quartet won the “Prix Opus, recording of the year” for its CD of Schubert Quartets.
In addition its performing career, the quartet is regularly invited to give master classes at universities, conservatories, and summer chamber music institutes.
The Alcan Quartet is based in Chicoutimi, Québec where it receives the unconditional support of the Orchestre Symphonique du Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. The quartet takes its name from its principal patron, the multinational aluminum company Alcan. The quartet also receives support from the Conseil des arts et des Lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Laura Andriani - violin
Laura Andriani has been winning first prizes in important Italian competitions since the age of ten. She pursued her musical studies at the Conservatory of Music G Verdi in Torino, where she graduated in Violin at the age of 17, under the tuition of Elena Guizzardi. Further music education continued in Switzerland, Cremona, England, Austria and Italy.
In 1997 she won the most important Italian competition for violin in Vittorio, Veneto and at the XLIV International Violin Competition Premio Paganini in Genova, she was awarded, unanimously, the Special Prize for the best interpretation of the 20th century violin composition playing the Sequenza VIII by Luciano Berio.In 2003, she was a finalist at the Concours International de Montréal and in January, 2010 won, along with Robert Kortgaard and Suzie LeBlanc, the Opus Prize for the CD Chants de Terre et de Ciel.
Laura played as soloist with Basler Sinfonie-Orchester, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Orquesta Sinfonica del Nuevo Mundo in Mexico, Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. As a chamber music player, she performed throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, China and Korea. She has also played in groups specializing in the performance of contemporary music. Since the summer 2003, Laura Andriani has been the first violin of the Alcan Quartet.
In addition to her musical accomplishments, Laura graduated with the highest grade from the Università degli Studi di Torino (Italy) with a degree in Humanities.
Nathalie Camus - violin
Born in Montréal, Nathalie Camus studied at the St Louis Conservatory of Music in Missouri, under the tutelage of Taras Gabora. She performed in classes of Henryk Szerying, Isaac Stern, Franco Gulli and studied chamber music with Sacha Schneider (Budapest Quartet) and Micheal Tree (Guarneri Quartet). She spent summers at the Grand Teton festival in Wyoming, The Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, and participated in masterclasses given by the Melos Quartet at the Hindemith Institute in Switzerland.
Nathalie Camus was a member of the Detroit Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec,and Les Violons du Roy before co-founding the Alcan Quartet in 1989. In addition to her position in the quartet Ms. Camus is the concertmistress of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Symphony Orchestra. She has toured throughout North America and Europe.
Nathalie is Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the Québec Conservatory of Music in Chicoutimi (Québec).
Luc Beauchemin - viola
Luc is principal viola of the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean Symphony Orchestra and violist in the Alcan String Quartet since 1994. He is presently violin and chamber music teacher at the Québec Conservatory of Music in Saguenay.
Born in Québec City, he graduated from Laval University as a violinist where he was a student of György Terebesi. His studies continued in France where he participated in classes of Ludmila Choubina et Youri Bashmet. He spent several summers at the Banff Center for the Arts in Alberta, Canada studying chamber music with Zoltan Szekely of the Hungarian Quartet.
Luc is a founding-member of the Sinfonietta de Radio-Canada, Les Violons du Roy, and the Artur Leblanc Quartet. He has also performed chamber music with the Orford Quartet, André Laplante, Maureen Forester, Rostislav Dubinsky, and Eugene Drucker, Alain Lefèvre et Marc-André Hamelin.
The composer Marc Bélanger wrote for Luc a very unique concerto for «violinist-violist» and orchestra in which the soloist has to perform alternatively the violin and the viola. Luc also produced a recording featuring works of three legendary musicians from Québec - Arthur LeBlanc, André Mathieu and Félix Leclerc.
His viola was made in Québec city in 1995 by the maker Gérard Arseneault.
David Ellis - cello
David Ellis was raised in Vermont, studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston, and graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he was a student of David Soyer, cellist of the Guarneri String Quartet. He has worked with Janos Starker, André Navara, and Maurice Gendron among others.
From 1982 to 1987, Mr. Ellis played in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under conductor Leonard Slatkin, touring throughout the United States and Far East. In 1988, he was appointed co-principal cellist of the chamber orchestra I Musici de Montréal and in 1989 became a founding member of the Alcan Quartet.
In conjunction with his responsibilities in the quartet, Mr. Ellis is principal cellist of the Orchestre Symphonique de Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. Since 1997 he has held the position of professor of cello at the Québec Conservatory of Music in Chicoutimi, and has been a visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the University of Montréal. He has given masterclasses throughout Québec and in Central America. As a member of the Alcan Quartet he plays regularly in concert throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.