Named in honor of violinist and Stanford alum John Lad (’74), the prize includes an invitation to appear on the Stanford Live season at Bing Concert Hall in Stanford, CA

September 25, 2017— New York based Tesla Quartet first performed on the Bing Concert Hall stage during the 2017 St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford.  As winners of the 2017 John Lad Prize, they will return next season to perform as guests of Stanford Live.  

The musicians  — Ross Snyder and Michelle Lie (violins), Edwin Kaplan (viola) and Serafim Smigelskiy (cello) will receive invitations to perform for both Stanford Live and Vancouver’s Music on Main series, and will also participate in the 2017 Emerging String Quartet Program at Stanford. Now in its seventh year honoring exceptional emerging chamber ensembles, the Lad prize is named after the SLSQ’s dear friend John Lad (Stanford ’74), a violist and ardent chamber music devotee.

The SLSQ was initially introduced to Lad when they were preparing R. Murray Shafer's String Quartet no. 6 (“Parting the Wild Horses Main”), a composition which combines string quartet with the movements of Tai Chi. He went on to perform and tour with the ensemble across North America and Europe for several seasons. Lad was a fixture at the SLSQ’s summer Chamber Music Seminar, playing viola, leading early morning Tai Chi classes in Braun Courtyard, playing a Tai Chi based ball toss game with eager participants, then reading chamber music late into the night.

“John Lad’s passion for playing string quartets was addictive,” says SLSQ co-founder and first violinist Geoff Nuttall. “His devotion to music against all odds and his total lack of ego are both qualities that are crucial to the success of any young ensemble.” At the time of his death, Lad was teaching Tai Chi in the physical education department at Columbia/Barnard University.

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Since its founding in 1989, the St. Lawrence String Quartet has developed an undisputed reputation as a truly world-class chamber ensemble. The artists have served on Stanford’s music faculty and as the university’s ensemble-in-residence since 1998. The SLSQ’s campus programing includes the annual Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford, the Emerging String Quartet Program and various collaborations with faculty and departments using music to explore a myriad of topics. The SLSQ continues to build its reputation for imaginative and spontaneous music making through an energetic commitment to the great established quartet literature as well as the championing of new works by such composers as John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Ezequiel Viñao, and Jonathan Berger. Lesley Robertson and Geoff Nuttall are founding members of the group and hail from Edmonton, Alberta, and London, Ontario, respectively. Christopher Costanza is from Utica, New York, and joined the group in 2003. Owen Dalby, returning to his native Bay Area roots, began his first season in 2015. Together, the musicians perform over 120 concerts annually and call Stanford University their home.



Music on Main is Canada’s “highly popular series that’s as musically adventurous as it is socially gregarious” (The Georgia Straight). Hailed as a global leader in the Indie Classical movement, the series has produced over 250 events featuring more than 700 musicians and over 50 world premieres, all in informal, inviting environments.  And since 2010, Music on Main has hosted the annual Modulus Festival, which “provides western Canada with one of the finest windows onto the post-classical scene” (Gramophone Magazine).  In November 2017, Music on Main welcomes the world to Vancouver with the ISCM World New Music Days 2017.



Stanford Live presents a wide range of the finest performances from around the world fostering a vibrant learning community and providing distinctive experiences through the performing arts.  With its home at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford Live is simultaneously a public square, a sanctuary and a lab, drawing on the breadth and depth of Stanford University to connect performance to the significant issues, ideas and discoveries of our time.