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

During the St. Lawrence String Quartet’s annual chamber seminar this summer, the Boston-based Trio Cleonice — violinist Ari Isaacman-Beck, cellist Gwen Krosnick and pianist Emely Phelps — had the opportunity to coach with the St. Lawrence and perform on the Bing Concert Hall stage. Next season, the young trio will return to Bing to perform on the Stanford Live season as recipients of the SLSQ’s annual John Lad Prize.

“We believe Trio Cleonice embodies the passion John Lad carried for chamber music,” wrote the quartet in a statement. “And we are confident the trio will be at home on the main stage of any concert organization in America.  Stanford's Bing stage awaits!”

Presented in collaboration with Stanford Live and Vancouver's Music on Main series, the John Lad Prize includes invitations from both organizations to appear on their respective concert series during the 2015-16 season. Upon learning the news, cellist Gwen Krosnick wrote, “Receiving the John Lad Prize is an incredible honor for Trio Cleonice, and it is especially touching coming from the amazing St. Lawrence String Quartet, whom we love and admire so much. We are deeply grateful, and also very excited to return to the west coast and play for the wonderful community at Stanford again.”

Now in its fourth year of honoring emerging chamber ensembles, the Lad prize is named after the SLSQ’s dear friend John Lad (Stanford ’74), a violist and ardent chamber music lover who passed away in 2007. He was a decades-long practitioner of Tai Chi and a regular lecturer in Philosophy. At the time of his death, Lad was teaching Tai Chi in the physical education department at Columbia/Barnard University.

The SLSQ was initially introduced to Lad when they were preparing R. Murray Shafer's String Quartet no. 6, 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 quickly became a fixture at the SLSQ’s summer Chamber Music Seminar, playing viola in an assigned group, 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. His spirit lives on strongly in our memory and at the seminar.”



Trio Cleonice (klee-ə-NEES), the dynamic young Boston-based piano trio, has established itself as one of the most creative, communicative, and exhilarating ensembles in the United States today, delighting audiences across the country and the world with its innovative programming and the sheer joy of its music-making. The Trio, which in May completed an exciting and productive tenure as Graduate Piano Trio-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory of Music, enters the 2014-2015 season off the heels of a recent second prize win at the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition in Harbin, China.  Self-proclaimed foodies, Trio takes its name from Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro of Ellsworth, Maine, which has been a regular destination for the group since they met in nearby Blue Hill, at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival and School (where Trio Cleonice began in 2008).


Currently celebrating its 25th-anniversary season, the St. Lawrence String Quartet has developed an undisputed reputation as a truly world-class chamber ensemble. The quartet performs over 120 concerts annually worldwide and calls Stanford University home, where the group is ensemble-in-residence. 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. Mark Fewer, a native of Newfoundland, begins his first season with the quartet in 2014, succeeding violinist Scott St. John. All four members of the quartet live and teach at Stanford.