Lafayette String Quartet to make farewell tour stop at Conservatory

The renowned Canadian chamber ensemble will make one last stop in Cleveland after 36 years of performing together.


Courtesy of Lafeyette String Quartet

The Lafayette String Quartet consists of Ann Elliott-Goldschmid on first violin (top left), Sharon Stanis on second violin (top right), Joanna Hood on viola (bottom right) and Pamela Highbaugh Aloni on cello (bottom left).

On Saturday, Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. in Fynette Kulas Music Hall in the Boesel Musical Arts Center, the Lafayette String Quartet will perform a series of pieces by W.A. Mozart, Abigail Richardson-Schulte and Alexander Borodin for the Baldwin Wallace community. 

The Lafayette String Quartet are artists in residence at Victoria University School of Music in British Columbia, Canada. Destinee Siebe, concert production and scheduling coordinator for the Conservatory of Music, said that this recital will be something of a swan song for the ensemble.  

“They are essentially going on a farewell tour across the US and Canada,” Siebe said. “This is their last season working together after decades of being an ensemble together. And the concert that’s happening at BW is their Cleveland stop on their tour.” 

L.S.Q. is the only all-female quartet in the world that is still comprised of the original four members. This tour celebrates 36 years of working together as an ensemble. The quartet was born in Detriot, Michigan. The name comes from the specific street on which the ensemble was born, Lafayette Street.  

When asked about how they stayed together this long Sharon Stanis, the second violinist for L.S.Q., said a part of it came naturally: “I would say that all four of us really had a ‘quartet bug,’ so to speak,” she said.  

“The string quartet genre repertoire is really some of the most intimate and personal ideas and emotions that a composer can compose for,” Stanis said. 

Stanis also credited their success in staying together to their residence at the University of Victoria, where they get to perform but also teach students their passion. 

Stanis mentioned the impact of legendary violinist chamber musician Rostislav Dubinsky, whom the quartet met and studied with at Indiana University.  

“He was kind of like the father of our quartet,” Stanis said. “So, for a while when we were just beginning in Detroit, we would go for coaching with him. And we were inspired by a mentor who had already kind of known the ropes.” 

The quartet features Ann Elliott-Goldschmid on first violin, Stanis on second violin, Joanna Hood on viola and Pamela Highbaugh Aloni on the cello.  

Siebe was approached by the quartet and quickly agreed to work with them to produce this recital.  

“I was compelled both by their story as an ensemble that they’ve been working together for so long and this is their last hurrah, but also, Sharon Stannis, who’s one of the violinists … has some BW connections,” Siebe said. 

Stanis was originally from Cleveland and is a BW alum. She attended BW for two years before transferring to another school. She also has a personal connection with Sean Gabriel, a lecturer of flute at BW, who was a former classmate of hers.  

Siebe said that it was a joy working with the ensemble.

“They think of everything, of all the details. And have done so well in advance, which – for a  person who does the work I do – I am massively appreciative of people who have who work well in advance. … To have someone who, three months in advance can tell me when they need the rehearsal time, what audience they’re anticipating, things like that. It’s so nice,” said Siebe. 

One of the pieces that will be performed is “All for One” written by Richardson-Schulte. It is a new work commissioned by the Lafayette String Quartet through the BK Weigel Fund. 

“We actually commissioned six female composers in the past year or two,” said Stanis. “And one [of the composers] is a co-composer, meaning that two women co-composed one piece. So out of the six composers, we have five brand new pieces for string quartets. We wanted to have brand new works by female composers to leave as a legacy for future string quartets to play.”  

Stanis found the experience of meeting and working with the composer of the piece that they would play exciting.  

“It’s not like playing a piece by Mozart or Beethoven because you can’t ask Mozart or Beethoven [about the music],” Stanis said. 

Stanis said that one of the most rewarding things about being part of the quartet was learning and telling the story that composers create. 

“It’s the richness and the depth of the emotion that really is very satisfying as a player,” Stanis said. “And you know, you’re playing one fourth of what the composer wrote. And it’s really four people, four voices, four souls, speaking to each other,”  

Siebe was impressed by the ensemble’s use of more modern string quartet works. 

“They are demonstrating to their audiences, including potentially BW music students who might be attending, that music is kept alive with collaborations with composers,” Siebe said. 

Siebe has also worked with BW string faculty to encourage string students to attend. 

“[The string students will] get that educational experience of hearing not only these players as being great players, but also getting a fresh perspective on [how] this is one of the many ways a musical life can look like — that it can look like having three friends that you play music with for 30 years,” Siebe said. 

The Lafeyette String Quartet’s performance is free and open to the public. More information can be found on