GAIA JAVA: Crumble String Quartet on April 22


Crumble String Quartet
Crumble String Quartet

The members of the Crumble String Quartet (Margot Lange and Julia Sandquist on violin, Mary Young on viola and Catherine Campbell on cello) – started rehearsing and performing as a quartet about five years ago. They met as members of a larger string ensemble called “The Strings of St John’s”, which performs five sets of concerts a year in the Ottawa area. The quartet plays a variety of baroque and classical music, along with some more contemporary music,  depending on the venue. The group’s gigs have included Mayor Watson’s inauguration ceremony, a fundraiser for the Ottawa chapter of the IODE, as well as numerous shows at a the Gaia Java Coffee Company.

Margot Lange, a native of Guelph, Ontario, started violin lessons at age three and played in many orchestras and chamber ensembles in the Guelph area. In Ottawa, she has played with the University of Ottawa Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and now with the Strings of St John’s, which she joined in 2003. She has also experimented with other styles of music, including Latin, rock, and especially folk music (in which capacity she has recently appeared at Gaia Java with other musicians!).

Julia Sandquist began her musical career growing up in Toronto. Over the years, she has played violin in community orchestras such as the Hart House Orchestra, the North York Symphony, the Kingston Symphony and the Ottawa Symphony. She has been a member of the Strings of St John’s since September 1999.

Mary Young is a violist from Sarnia, Ontario, who studied viola with Ralph Aldrich in London, Ontario. She has played in a number of amateur orchestras and is a founding member of The Strings of St. John’s.

Catherine Campbell started playing the cello at the age of twelve and graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Music degree.  She has played in the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and Divertimento Orchestra.  She joined the Strings of St John’s in 2001.

(People told me they enjoyed this little story last time I emailed about the Crumble quartet, so I will include it again here: )

Back in the 1700s Leo Mozart would yell at his kids “Wolfie, stop composing and get over here now with that cello, and Nannerl, fetch the apprentice and bring your violins – we are going to make some Night music!” because they could not yet afford a ghetto blaster, and the cable channels in Salzburg were lousy. That was how you got your music in those days. Similarly, during the coal-miner’s strikes when the electricity went off in Northern England in the 1960s, Ringo Starr would pull out his viola and with the other Beatles they would develop songs like ‘Michelle’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’.

So this week in Gaia Java we have the treat of the same kind of portable music – horsehair, wood and catgut in the hands of skilled musicians such as Margot, Julia, Mary and Catherine reveals the wonders of harmony that can enchant and relax the listener. Come and pretend you are in a Viennese coffeeshop or a Liverpool garage as you listen to a wide range of music for a string quartet, perhaps including pop tunes as well!

Part of the wonder of music nights at Gaia Java is the eclectic range we get to present – from jazz, pop, and folk all the way to the accessible classics – all thanks to the talents of the wonderful musicians who enjoy coming in to entertain us.

In case you don’t know the story, the ladies of the Crumble Quartet named their ensemble after a favourite dessert that seems to feature overly regularly at their rehearsals. When they are not eating slices of crumble they also play with a larger group called the ‘Strings of St Johns’. You can find more details about that group (including their upcoming May 15th concert which features an Erhu which is a chinese traditional violin!)  at:
The music nights start at 7pm, and as usual there is no charge, but we do have a ‘jar’ for donations to support the musicians, and we hope that you will buy a drink or two (and maybe something tasty to eat!)

See more details at where you can also review the listing of upcoming music night performers over the next few weeks – everything from University students to seasoned professionals who are willing to come and share their talents with you.

2016 continues to feature a stellar line-up of Ottawa musicians – check out the gaiajava.cawebsite for advance notice, and mark up your agendas.

The Crumble String Quartet plays Gaia Java on Friday, April 12 at 7:00pm.

-Paul Jay


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