Cecilia String Quartet

Concert program

1. Felix Mendelssohn

String Quartet Op. 44#1

2. Frederic Chopin

Scherzo No.4 in E Major

3. W.A Mozart

String Quartet K. 157

4. W.A Mozart

String Quartet K. 421

5. Robert Schumann

Piano Quintet Op. 44

6. Lecture by Isabelle Peretz

The music and science behind child prodigies

Video Clips

Concert Clip

Watch the video below for String Quartet Op. 44#1 by Felix Mendelssohn !


Watch the video below to hear about the research Isabelle Peretz has been doing!

Biographical profile

Dr. Isabelle Peretz

Dr. Isabelle Peretz is a cognitive neuropsychologist and a professor of Psychology at the University of MOntreal. Dr. Pertz was born and educated in Brussels, Belgium. She earned her Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles under Jose Morais in 1984. Shortly therafter, she took on a faculty position at Universite de Montreal where she has remained ever since. Dr. Pertz’s focuses on the musical potential of ordinary people, its neural correlates, its heritability and its specificity relative to language. She has published over 240 scientific papers on a variety of topics in neurocognition of music, from perception, memory and emotions to singing and dancing. For her publications, click here. She is reowned for her work on congenital and acquired musical disorders (amusia) and on the biological foundations of music processing in general. Dr. Peretz’s research has received continued support from the Canadian Natural Science and Engineering Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research since 1986. In 2004, the Universite de Montreal earned her an endowed Casavant chair in neurocognition of music and in 2007, a Canada Research Chair in neurocognition of music. In 2005, Dr. Peretz became the founding co-director of the international laboratory for Brain, Music, and Sound research (BRAMS), a unique multi-university consortium that is jointly affiliated to Universte de Montreal and McGill University with state-of-the-art facilities dedicated to cognitive neuroscience of music. She has been awarded several prizes; the Prix Justine & Yves Sergent, Prix ACFAS Jacques Rousseau, Prix Adrien Pinard. Neuronal Plasticity prize 2011 IPSEN Foundation and Prix d’excellence of FRQNT. Dr. Pertz is the founding Editor-in-chief of the open-access Frontiers of Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Psychological Association.

Cecilia String Quartet

Hailed for their “powerful” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “dauntingly perfect” (Berliner Zeitung) performances, the Juno-nominated Cecilia String Quartet performs for leading presenters in North America and Europe. The ensemble is also the James D. Stewart Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. Past engagements include performances at the Amsterdam Concertgebow, Berlin Konzerthaus, and London’s Wigmore Hall. Their live concert recordings have been broadcast on more than a dozen international public radio networks, including Canada (CBC/SRC), the United States (WQXR), the United Kingdom (BBC Radio 3) and Germany (DeutschlandRadio). Prize-winners at several international competitions, they were awarded First Prize at the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC). In addition to performing, the CSQ records for ANALEKTA, and has released several albums to great critical acclaim, featuring music by Dvorak, Janacek, Berg, Webern, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Current ongoing projects include Celebrating Canadian Women in Music-the commissioning, premiering, and recording new works by four outstanding Canadian female composers and Xenia Concerts – a Toronto based concert series designed to appeal to and be welcoming of children on the autism spectrum and their families.Min-Jeong Koh plays on a ca.1767 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin, and Sarah Nemathallah plays on an 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin, both on loan from an anonymous donor. Rachel Desoer performs on the 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello on loan from an anonymous donor. Caitlin Boyle plays on a 2002 viola by Joseph Curtin. The quartet would like to thank the anonymous donor, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council for their generous support.

Min-Jeong Koh, violin

Praised for her “extreme versatility” and “simply unbeatable beauty of tone” (Berliner Zeitung), Min-Jeong Koh maintains a busy schedule as a concert violinist, violist and as an educator. Prior to joining the quartet, she was the 2nd prize winnder of the 2006 Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition, where she was also awarded the Prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Piece, a winner at the Canada Council’s 2009 Musical Instrument Bank Competition, and a soloist with the Banff Festival orchestra. A passionate educator, Ms. Koh has extensive experience teaching violin, was a panel speaker at a Solution Focused Brief Terapy Association conference, and worked closely with Mimi Zweig in the String Pedagogy Workshop at the Indiana University. Her dedication to performance and music education has led to an invitation to the national honour society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and most recently Ms. Koh was invited to teach undergraduate violin students at the Wilfrid Laurier University to fulfill a sabbatical post. Ms. Koh holds a Doctoral of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Toronto where she researched the proliferation of Canadian string quartets. Through the generosity of a private benefactor, Ms. Koh performs exclusively on a ca.1767 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin.

Sarah Nematalla, violin

Applauded by the Globe and Mail (Toronto) for her “velvety sound” and the “fine-grained fluidity of her playing”, Sarah Nematalla is a founding member of the Cecilia String Quartet. She has performed internationally as an orchestral and chamber musician for organizations such as the Verbier Festival and the Banff Summer Arts Festival, and has appeared as a soloist in Canada, the United States, and Spain. During her studies in violin performance, Ms. Nematalla was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the University of Toronto William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award given to a graduating student deemed by the university to have the greatest potential for making an important contribution to the field of music.

Committed to education, Ms. Nematallah completed a Masters Degree in Music Education at the University of Toronto, where she researched topics related to music philosophy and cognition, especially connections between music and language. She has given presentations on topics related to music performance and education for organizations such as the Canadian Arts Presenting Organization (CAPACOA) and the Chamber Music America. Ms. Nematallah plays on an 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume on loan from an anonymous donor.

Caitlin Boyle, viola

Passionate about the viola, Caitlin Boyle has been playing this instrument since the age of three. She began her studies at the Hamilton Suzuki School of Music and subsequently completed her Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance at the Glenn Gould School, an Artist Diploma at the Hochschule fur Musik Munchen, a Masters of Music in Viola Performance at the San Diego State University, a Graduate Diploma a tthe McGill University and a Doctor of the Musical Arts Degree at the University of Toronto. Her enthusiasm for chamber music was fostered at the Soutern Ontario Chamber Music Institute and the Domaine Forget Chamber Music Sessions and continued to grow through support of artists such as Richard Lester, Terence Helmer and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Inspired to continue playing chamber music, she joined the Cecilia String Quartet in the spring of 2006. Delighted also to play orchestra, she has played with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Schleswig-Holsteing Orchestral Academy, the Munich Symphony Orchestra, and currently plays with Sinfonia Toronto. Joseph Curtain made her viola in 2002.

Rachel Desoer, cello

Rachel Desoer is a cellist from Hamilton, Ontario. She has studied at the Juilliard School, Oberlin College, McGill University and the Banff Centre. She graduated from Oberlin in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music. Her main focus has been chamber music but she also had the opportunity to perform solo works and play in ochestras. She is currenly the cellist of the Cecilia String Quartet. This ensemble tours extensively around the world and records on the Analekta label. Rachel now performs on the 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello on loan from an anonymous donor.