Canadian String Quartet

Canadian String Quartet. First quartet-in-residence (1961-3) at the University of Toronto, established jointly by the university and the CBC to teach advanced students, coach string groups, and give concerts. Members were Albert Pratz and Bernard Robbins, violins; David Mankovitz, viola; and George Ricci (replaced in 1962 by Laszlo Varga), cello. The founding of the group was a project of Pratz and Geoffrey Waddington, who hoped to develop in Canada a quartet of international stature. The quartet gathered to rehearse on 1 Jul 1961, was heard in a CBC broadcast of Haydn quartets 17 Jan 1962, and gave its first public concert 18 Jan 1962 in Toronto. It gave over 50 recitals 1962-3 on CBC radio and also appeared on CBC TV 4 Mar 1963 in the premiere of Gould's So You Want to Write a Fugue? It gave its final concert 4 Jul 1963 and soon afterwards, in the words of a Canada Council report, 'flew apart expensively in our hands - as will sometimes happen when personalities are not as well tempered as instruments'.. Despite the high skills of the performers the quartet did not enjoy the security and longevity of the earlier Hart House Quartet and later Orford String Quartet. Nevertheless it performed some 150 works and premiered Weinzweig's Quartet No. 3 (which it had commissioned), Morel's Quartet No. 2 and Adaskin's Quartet No. 1 (both commissioned for it by the CBC), and Somers' Quartet No. 2.

An earlier Canadian String Quartet, founded by Eugene Hudson in Regina in 1930, also was short-lived.