Acclaimed by the public and the international 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 eight Opus Prizes awarded by the Quebec Music Council to underline musical excellence on the Quebec concert stage, the Molinari Quartet has just received 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. Also, the Quartet is proud to share a Juno Award 2004 with Schafer for the recording of his 8th String Quartet, recognized as the best new work of the year.
The name Molinari reflects well the commitment of the musicians to contemporary music repertoire, for Canadian painter Guido Molinari’s name has come to represent the artistic avant-garde for over forty years. In addition to many Canadian works, the Molinari Quartet’s repertoire includes among others, quartets by Bartók, Britten, Corigliano, Glass, Kancheli, Korngold, Kurtág, Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Martinu, Prokofiev, Ravel, Scelsi, Schnittke, 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. Its participation at the “Strings of the Future 1999” festival drew much attention from the international press (Le Monde de la Musique, The Strad, Strings).
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 Strings of the Future (Ottawa), Festival Octobre en Normandie (France), Musiques au présent (Québec), Festival Vancouver, Banff Centre, Music Toronto, New Music Concerts (Toronto), Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Orford Festival, GroundSwell (Winnipeg), Saskatoon Symphony Festival of New Music, Aeolian Concerts and Hill and Hollow Music (New York).
The Molinari Quartet has commissioned R. Murray Schafer’s 7th quartet and has also premiered his 8th Quartet, 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 eight string quartets in its repertoire. Its recordings on the ATMA Classic label have received international critical acclaim.
Launched in October 2001, the Molinari Quartet International Competition for Composition is now in its Third edition (Deadline for receiving scores: April 1st 2006). For its two first competitions, the Quartet has received over 350 scores from 40 countries. Composers of less than 40 years old are invited to submit an original work for string quartet. The best compositions will be played in concert during the Molinari Quartet’s Twentieth and Beyond series to be held in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) during the spring of 2007. Furthermore, the winning compositions will be recorded on CD by ATMA Classique and distributed internationally.