Alex Ross: The Relaxation Is Noise: For Geoff Nuttall

Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise: For Geoff Nuttall


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Geoff enjoying a chacona, 2010.

One of many brightest, most beneficiant lights within the American chamber-music world is gone: Geoff Nuttall, the primary violinist of the St. Lawrence Quartet, died as we speak on the age of fifty-six, of pancreatic most cancers. It is devastating information to the a whole bunch of musicians who’ve labored with Geoff over time, whether or not as college students or as colleagues. And it is devastating information to audiences throughout North America — from the Banff Centre, the place the quartet first broke by way of, to Palo Alto, the place it’s based mostly, and on to Charleston, the place Geoff led the chamber-music collection on the Spoleto Pageant. One among my favourite experiences as a critic-reporter got here in 2001, once I adopted the St. Lawrence on the street, to El Paso, Texas, and Joplin, Missouri. I would lined the quartet’s New York début, in 1992, and needed to examine in on their progress. Geoff was on the coronary heart of the group and the chief supply of its spontaneous, viscerally musical spirit. Behind his regular-guy have an effect on was an exuberant, unpredictable, wide-ranging thoughts. Barry Shiffman, the previous second violinist of the St. Lawrence, tells me that Geoff remained lively to the tip, biking to and from his chemotherapy appointments and leaving Barry huffing in the middle of strenuous hikes. He will likely be profoundly and completely missed.