Scott St John | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Scott St John

St John began violin studies with Richard Lawrence in London at the age of 3. He later studied viola with Ralph Aldrich at the University of Western Ontario.

Scott St John

 Scott St John. Violinist, violist, teacher, born London, Ont, 4 Dec 1969; B MUS (Curtis)1990.

Education and Awards

St John began violin studies with Richard Lawrence in London at the age of 3. He later studied viola with Ralph Aldrich at the University of Western Ontario. Other violin teachers were Gérard Jarry in Paris (1979-80); David Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music (1984-5); and Jascha Brodsky, Arnold Steinhardt, and Felix Galimir (chamber music) at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.

St John has won prizes in Canadian and international competitions, including the CBC Radio National Competition for Young Performers (prize for best performance of a Canadian work, 1985); first prize at the Alexander Schneider Violin-Viola Competition in New York (1987); and a Martin E. Segal Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (1990). He has won a Young Concert Artists Award (1989), the Munich International Violin Competition (third prize, 1992), a Canada CouncilViriginia Parker (then Virginia Moore) prize (1994), and received an Avery Fischer Career Grant in 2003.

Solo Career

St John has been a soloist with many Canadian orchestras including the Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver Symphonies, the National Arts Centre Orchestra , the Hamilton Philharmonic, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Windsor and London symphonies. He has performed with American orchestras in Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tuscon, the Boston Pops among others, and abroad with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Lisbon's Gulbenkian Orchestra, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hamburg Sinfonia and in New Zealand and Japan. On occasion he has appeared as soloist on both violin and viola in the same concert.

He has been broadcast on radio and TV, and under the auspices of Jeunesses Musicales has given recitals in England, Hungary, France, Yugoslavia, and has toured Spain and Portugal. He made his Carnegie Recital Hall debut in March 1988.

He has appeared frequently with his sister, violinist Lara St John in duo programs in the USA and Europe, and they have recorded Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante which won a 2011 JUNO award. Other collaborators have included pianists Rena Sharon and Libby Yu. On Naxos he has recorded Paganini 's works for violin and guitar with Simon Wynberg artistic director of the ARC Ensemble, and he has also recorded for Marquis Classics. Many works are available through itunes.

His concerto repertoire numbers violin concertos by Britten, Barber, and Bartok.

Chamber Musician and Teacher

After living for some years in New York, St John accepted the position of Associate Professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music, where he taught violin, viola and chamber music 1999-2006.

A seasoned chamber musician, St John joined the St Lawrence String Quartet in 2006, alternating the position of first and second violin with Geoff Nuttall. The quartet members are Lecturers and Artists in Residence at Stanford University (California).

St John has appeared at many summer festivals, giving master classes and collaborating with colleagues: the Gryphon Trio (Toronto Summer Music festival 2012); the 50th anniversary of Music at Marlborough in Vermont (where he first appeared 1987/8); Spoleto (USA) among them.

St John was named to the jury for the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition.