Since their initial season in Detroit in 1984, the Lafayette Quartet has played to critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences throughout Europe and North America.
Early in their career, they garnered major competition prizes (e.g., the Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition), and embarked on extensive study with chamber musicians of international stature: two years with the Cleveland Quartet at the Eastman School (as winners of the Cleveland Quartet Competition), coaching with members of the Amadeus and Alban Berg Quartets, and long-term musical coaching from their mentor Rostislav Dubinsky.
In 1988, the Lafayette was chosen by Musical America as "Young Artists to Watch", and has provided ample proof of the astuteness of that choice. Defying the odds in the demanding world of string quartets, the four women of the Lafayette have stayed together and flourished artistically for 15 years despite moving, marrying, and becoming parents.
In 1991 the Lafayette left Detroit to accept positions as artists-in-residence at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The high profile string program now boasts an annual two week intensive chamber music workshop, QuartetFest West, which the Lafayette established in 1993. Students from all over North America are attracted by the Lafayette's widely respected coaching skills, as well as the guest quartets and soloists invited by the Lafayette to be part of the workshop.
The Lafayette normally presents two recitals a year in Victoria as well as performing with other faculty members, but this year they will be offering the entire Beethoven cycle in a six concert series. By popular demand they are also taking it east to the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society in Ontario. The Lafayette are formidable interpreters of Beethoven, and people in Ontario began buying series tickets a year in advance of the April 2000 concerts.
In addition to their affinity for Beethoven, the Lafayette are committed to contemporary compositions as well as the music of women composers. By the end of next year their discography -which now has more than 12 titles- will include a CD requested by the CBC: the music of west coast composers.
"...the Lafayette's Schubert was a triumph of technique and musicianship in the service of emotional communication." (The Indianapolis News)
"...the Lafayette also have a subtle grasp of rhythmic inflexion, which gives their performance an inner resiliance and momentum to go with its warm and strongly profiled expression." (GRAMOPHONE)
"...The performance given by the Lafayette Quartet was superb in every respect, from the creation of a haunting, distinctive sound-world to the exquisitely delivered solo passages by each of the players." (Calgary Herald)
"Something exciting happened last night...namely the finest string-quartet playing this critic, at any rate, has heard in a long time. There was richness and refinement of tone, utter security of tuning and technique, and flawless ensemble..." (Times-Union, Rochester)
"The University of Victoria's music faculty must be thanking its lucky stars to have these wonderfully talented and personable players on staff. So should Canada, which now hears a good deal more from them than it used to." (Waterloo Gazette)
"One coaching session with Ann Elliott-Goldschmid had an incredible impact on my quartet. She is so full of energy and ideas that it's impossible to not be inspired." (2nd violinist, Gavriella Quartet)
"In their convincing interpretation, Beethoven's mighty monster (Op.131) sang as sweetly as it thundered..." (Los Angeles Times)
"The Lafayette Quartet is certainly one of the many ensembles with fine sound, excellent intonation and crackerjack ensemble precision, but what sets them apart is a level of musical insight that is reserved to very few ensembles. With the Lafayette, you really get the sense that they play Beethoven, as the saying has it, "Beethoven's way." And the same goes for many other great composers whose work they have illuminated for us, year in and year out." (Jan Narveson, Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society)