Praised for their “emotional investment” and “decisive” interpretations (Toronto Star) and “intense” and “hot-blooded” performances (Globe and Mail), the Tokai Quartet is one of Canada’s leading string quartets. In September 2007, the quartet became prizewinners at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the first Canadian group to do so since 1992. The vibrancy that this exciting young ensemble brings to their performances is gaining them enthusiastic audiences across Canada, and has earned the Tokai Quartet a growing demand for performances at concert series across the country.
The Tokai Quartet had its beginnings in 2002 at the University of Toronto where the Quartet benefited from the guidance of the late Lorand Fenyves. The members of the St. Lawrence Quartet have also been significant mentors to the Tokai Quartet, their Summer Music Seminars at Stanford University being a source of inspiration and instruction. The Tokai Quartet has also studied with the Emerson, Ying, Orion, and Leipzig Quartets, with Scott St. John and with Henk Guittart of the Schoenberg Quartet, Mayumi Seiler, Terence Helmer, Ian Swensen, and Roberto Diaz.
The commitment and generosity of their teachers is passed on by the Tokai Quartet in their own flourishing teaching career, which began at the University of Toronto when the Quartet was invited back to give masterclasses. The Tokai Quartet has been ensemble-in-residence at Queen’s University in Kingston, the Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute, and Music at Port Milford, where intensive schedules saw them coaching numerous ensembles, giving masterclasses and performing. In 2010 they participated in the SLSQ Emerging String Quartet Program performing and teaching at the Stanford University as well as participating in outreach activities at numerous schools and other venues. They have also coached and taught chamber music at the University of Toronto, Dalhousie Univerity in Halifax and the Acadia Univerity in Nova Scotia.
Audiences have seen the Tokai Quartet perform across Canada at various music festivals including The Toronto Summer Music Festival, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, and the Concerts aux Îles du Bic Chamber Music Festival in Quebec. They also performed an extensive concert tour of Atlantic Canada in March 2007 awarded by Debut Atlantic which was followed by an Encore Tour in 2013.
The accomplishments of this gifted ensemble have earned the Tokai Quartet some impressive accolades. In 2003 they were recipients of the Felix Galimir Award and the following year the Tokai Quartet went on to receive the Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Award, which has facilitated their participation in residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at the Stanford Summer Music Festival. They were further distinguished by the award of a Debut concert presented by the Frederick Gaviller Music Foundation, which took place in April 2005. The Quartet was a recipient of an Ontario Arts Council grant in support of their multimedia children’s production of the Snow Queen, with award winning actor Alon Nashman. This production was nominated for a Dora award, and has been presented in Banff and also in Toronto for three consecutive years.