The PSQ regards itself as a Canadian quartet (though three of the four are from the British Isles) and “a Canadian resource.” Works by Canadian composers in the group’s repertoire include pieces by JEAN COULTHARD, S.C. Eckhardt-Grammate, Clermont Pepin, HARRY SOMERS, ROBERT TURNER and John Weinzweig. As well, they have participated in Elliott Weisgarber’s “Night” and BARBARA PENTLAND’s “Interplay” (for quartet and free bass accordion).
One of the highlights of the quartet’s career as a disseminator of Canadian music came in July, 1973 when five works they had commissioned were performed at a special Canada Day concert at Canada House in London, England: MURRAY SCHAFER’s “String Quartet No. 1” (1970), Barbara Pentland’s “Quartet No. 3” (1969), ANDRE PREVOST’s “Quartet No. 2, Ad Pacem” (1972), Harry Freedman’s “Graphic II” (1972), and BRUCE DAVIS’ “Quartet No. 1” (1972).
The Schafer work was first performed at the Vancouver Art Gallery in July, 1970, and well over a hundred times since. It was termed “a persuasive addition to an already established genre” by New York Times critic John Rockwell when performed by the quartet in its U.S. premiere on July 17 at Carnegie Hall.
The Schafer quartet was recorded twice by the PSQ – once for the CBC, which has released it as part of its Canadian Collection; and for a recording on Melbourne Records, backed by the composer’s “Requiems for a Party Girl.” It was also broadcast five times by the BBC in England.
Each of the quartet members is an instructor at Vancouver’s Community Music School. As well, they have performed many formal and informal concerts in cities [ranging from] Vancouver to Prince George, Kitimat, Kelowna and Trail. Last April the quartet went on an extended tour of Northern Vancouver Island and the North Coast.