Banff Centre Mourns the Loss of Geoff Nuttall, Musician, Faculty and Friend
October 19, 2022 | Banff, AB
With profound sadness, Banff Centre mourns the loss of violinist Geoff Nuttall, who succumbed to cancer following a yearlong battle with the illness.
Hailed by the New York Times as "provocative and brilliant" with "stunning technique and volatility," Geoff Nuttall began playing the violin at the age of eight after moving to London, Ontario from College Station, Texas.
In 1989, Nuttall co-founded the St. Lawrence String Quartet. As first violinist of this world-renowned ensemble, he performed thousands of concerts throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia including such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, and The Barbican in London, Royal Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam, Theatre de Ville in Paris, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, as well as at the White House for President Clinton.
Deeply committed to Canada, he performed yearly concert tours across the country and was very supportive of the music of our country’s composers.
Since 1998, he has been on the faculty at Stanford University, where the St. Lawrence String Quartet is the ensemble-in-residence.
"The tragic loss of Geoff is devastating, both personally and beyond. He had a passion on and off the stage that was legendary. To be in his presence was to feel alive, and one felt that whether sitting beside him in a quartet or listening to him perform. He deeply loved Banff and shared his enthusiasm for this place all around the world."
- Barry Shiffman, Director, Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC)
Geoff's connections to Banff Centre run deep. Having studied for many summers in the chamber music program and yearlong residency program, he went on to win the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 1992 with his quartet. He subsequently served as a faculty member and juror and recorded the music of John Adams for Nonesuch Recordings in the Rolston Recital Hall at Banff Centre.
He has been a celebrated director of chamber music at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston SC since 2010, where he replaced founding director Charles Wadsworth.
Our thoughts are with his wife, violinist Livia Sohn, and sons, Jack and Ellis.
About Banff Centre
Banff Centre was established in 1933 with a single summer course in drama, thanks to a $30,000 transformative Carnegie Grant. Actors, directors, designers, and technical practitioners have responded enthusiastically to the program at Banff ever since. Initially, the program responded to the needs of regional, activist theatre of depression-era Alberta. But over the years, and under the direction of prominent Canadian actors and instructors, the focus of the theatre programs has shifted to meet the needs of theatre practitioners across the country.
We acknowledge, with deep respect and gratitude, our home on the side of Sacred Buffalo Guardian Mountain. In the spirit of respect and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Banff area, known as “Minhrpa” (translated in Stoney Nakoda as “the waterfalls”) and the Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) – comprised of the Bearspaw, Chiniki, and GoodStoney Nations – as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Shuswap Nations, Ktunaxa Nations, and Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. We acknowledge all Nations who live, work, and play here, help us steward this land, and honour and celebrate this place.