The St John’s based Atlantic String Quartet was founded over 30 years ago, and is comprised of the principal string players of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra. The current members of the quartet are Heather Kao and Nancy Case-Oates – violins, Kate Read – viola, and Theo Weber – cello. Hailing from Newfoundland, the UK and the US, they bring rich and diverse experience.
The ASQ is an integral part of the creative life of the St. John’s community and is known for its versatility and ability to work with music and musicians from all styles and genres.
In addition to leading their sections in the NSO, the quartet presents their own Recital Series, performing a broad selection of works from the rich string quartet and chamber music repertoires. Along with the greats from the string quartet repertoire (Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Ravel and Bartok, to name a few..) they are constantly seeking lesser known gems. They are also dedicated to performing Canadian works, by composers such as award winning Dinuk Wijeratne, Andrew Staniland and Kellie Marie Murphy. In their 2019-2020 season they presented a programme of music by entirely by female composers (dating from the Middle Ages to the present), and in their 2020-2021 season are continuing to programme music by BIPOC and female composers.
They have shared the stage with such international classical musicians as Charles Richard-Hamelin, Angela Chang, Ofra Harnoy and Mark Fewer, and local artists such as Duane Andrews, The Once, Mary Barry and renowned songwriter Ron Hynes.
Equally comfortable with with classical and other genres they have performed Chick Corea’s “Lyric Suite” for sextet with the fabulous jazz musicians Bill Brennan and Florian Hoefner. The ASQ has collaborated with Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland and played in various guises at Sound Symposium in St John’s, where in 2018 they performed Raven Chacon’s “The Journey of the Horizontal People”. They are not afraid to improvise.
As well as in and around St. John’s, the quartet has performed around the province, from Corner Brook, Woody Point, Bonavista’s Garrick Theatre, Cupid’s Theatre and they are regulars at the Cape St Mary’s series.
Going from strength to strength they released their first CD in 2020, of the Ravel and Bliss String Quartets, produced by Mark Fewer. They are also regularly in demand as session musicians.
Members of the quartet teach at Memorial University of Newfoundland as well as run their own teaching studios. They coach and conduct young ensembles, and are invited to adjudicate at festivals.