Internationally acclaimed by the public and the critics since its foundation in 1997, the Molinari Quartet has given itself the mandate to perform works from the 20th and 21st centuries repertoire for string quartet, to commission new works and to initiate discussions between musicians, artists and the public.
Recipient of thirteen Opus Prizes awarded by the Quebec Music Council to underline musical excellence on the Quebec concert stage, the Molinari Quartet received in 2004 a prestigious distinction: the Académie Charles Cros of France has awarded the Molinari Quartet a "Heartthrob" for its recording of R Murray Schafer’s Quartets 1 to 7, published on the ATMA Classique label.
In addition to many Canadian works, the Molinari Quartet’s repertoire includes among others, quartets by Bartók, Berg, Britten, Corigliano, Debussy, Dutilleux, Glass, Gubaidulina, Kancheli, Kurtág, Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Martinu, Penderecki, Prokofiev, Ravel, Rihm, Schnittke, Schoenberg, Shostakovich and Webern. Described by the critics as an "essential" and "prodigious" ensemble, even "Canada’s answer to the Kronos or Arditti Quartet", the Molinari Quartet has established itself as one of Canada’s leading string quartets.
The Molinari Quartet was heard twice as soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit and was invited to perform in numerous concert series and festivals including IJsbreker (Amsterdam), Présences (Radio-France, Paris), Festival Octobre en Normandie (France), IXth International Festival of contemporary music Musica Nueva (Mexico), Musiques au présent (Québec), Festival Vancouver, Vancouver New Music, Banff Centre, Music Toronto, New Music Concerts (Toronto), Toronto Summer Music Festival and Academy, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Tonus Vivus (Edmonton), Orford Festival, Montréal / Nouvelles Musiques, GroundSwell (Winnipeg), Five-Penny concert series (Sudbury), etc.
The Molinari Quartet has commissioned R. Murray Schafer’s 7th quartet and has also premiered his 8th and 10th Quartets, written also for the Molinari. The Quartet has commissioned and premiered several works from Canadian composers such as Otto Joachim, Michel Gonneville, Marc Hyland, Michael Matthews, Kelly-Marie Murphy, David Scott and Ana Sokolović as well as giving North-American premieres of many works.
The Molinari Quartet is the only quartet to have all of R Murray Schafer’s eleven string quartets in its repertoire. Its recordings on the ATMA Classique label have received international critical acclaim. In September 2011, the Molinari Quartet released its recording of Alfred Schnittke’s string quartets and has received rave revues from, among others, The Strad (January 2012) and Gramophone (Editors choice, February 2012).
Launched in October 2001, the Molinari Quartet International Competition for Composition has had an enormous success. Over its four editions it has received over 600 new quartet scores from 60 countries. The Fifth International Composition Competition deadline is April 1st 2012.