Quartetto Gelato is a Canadian classical crossover quartet with current members Peter DeSotto, Kirk Starkey, Charles Cozens and Colin Maier, and based in Toronto, Ontario. Their musical repertoire consists of a mix of classical masterworks and operatic arias with tangos, gypsy and folk songs from around the world. They usually play without musical scores and their performances include elements of humour and dance.
Quartetto Gelato was originally formed in 1989 in Toronto; the founding members were Cynthia Steljes, her husband Peter De Sotto, George Meanwell and Claudio Vena. They began performing as part of the emerging "new classical" scene, and in 1996 the group was named NPR Performance Today's Debut Artist of the Year.
Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk took their first two CDs with him during his NASA flight on board the space shuttle Columbia in 1997. By 2007, the ensemble had recorded six albums of music and had sold 150,000 CDs.
Quartetto Gelato has changed members over the years. Cynthia Steljes left the group because of ill health and died in 2006. Oboist and multi-instrumentalist Colin Maier joined in 2009, and cellist Liza McLellan joined at about that same time. Alexander Sevastian died suddenly while on tour with the ensemble in Ajijic, Mexico on Friday, February 16, 2018. Cellist Kirk Starkey, and accordionist Charles Cozens joined in May 2018.
Awards and nominations
In 1995 Quartetto Gelato was nominated for a Juno Award as Instrumental Artist(s) of the Year; their album Quartetto Gelato was nominated for "Best Classical Album by a Solo or Chamber Ensemble". In 1996 the group was named "Debut Artist of the Year" by NPR Performance Today. In 1999, Quartetto Gelato's La Danza was received two nominations at the Gemini Awards: "Best Photography in a Comedy, Variety, Performing Arts Program or Series", and "Best Editing in a Comedy, Variety, Performing Arts Program or Series".
In 2005, the show Canada Day 2004: Merci Montréal, in which the group participated, was nominated for "Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series'" at the Gemini Awards. Also, in 2010 Quartetto Gelato was named "Best Classical Group" at the Independent Music Awards during Canadian Music Week.
- Peter DeSotto — tenor, violin, mandolin
- Charles Cozens — accordion
- Kirk Starkey — cello
- Colin Maier — oboe, clarinet, English horn, guitar, mandolin, piano, musical saw
- Cynthia Steljes (deceased) — oboe, English horn
- Kristina Reiko Cooper — cello
- Elinor Frey — cello
- Lydia Munchinsky — cello
- Joseph Macerollo — accordion
- George Meanwell — guitar, cello, mandolin
- Claudio Vena — accordion, viola
- Shalom Bard — clarinet
- Carina Reeves — cello
- Kornel Wolak — clarinet
- Alexander Sevastian (deceased) — accordion, piano
- Liza McLellan — cello and bass
- Quartetto Gelato (1993)
- Rustic Chivalry (1996)
- Aria Fresca (1998)
- Neapolitan Café (2001)
- Quartetto Gelato Travels the Orient Express (2004)
- Musica Latina (2009)
- The Magic of Christmas (Quartetto Gelato album)|The Magic of Christmas (2010)
- All Original - 100% Canadian (2015)
- Favourite Flavours (2005)
- Only You: Music From The Motion Picture (1994)
- Ashley MacIsaac, Hi, How Are You Today? (1995)
- Quartetto Gelato - La Danza (Music Video) (1998)
- CBC's Canada Day 2004: Merci Montreal! (2004)
- Quartetto Gelato Explores Music and Wine DVD (2006)
- Romanian Caravan (2010)
- Border Crossing (2012)
- Liza's Dream (2016)
- " Quartetto Gelato brimming with humour as well as fine musicianship". Waterloo Region Record, January 24, 2014, By Valerie Hill
- "Musician co-founded the `Ice Cream Quartet'". Toronto Star, Meghan Waters, Jan. 5, 2007
- "Genre-bending quartet treads the high wire". Toronto Star, John Terauds, Jan. 14, 2010
- "Quartetto Gelato co-founder dies". CBC Arts, Jan 03, 2007
- "Entertaining & energetic evening with Quartetto Gelato". Jeff DeDekker, Regina Leader-Post, October 11, 2015
- "Quartetto Gelato Accordionist Passes Away Suddenly" Wah Keung Chan La Scena Musicale Feb 19, 2018
- "MUSIC REVIEW: Quartetto Gelato serves up exotic flavors". Herald-Tribune, By Richard Storm, December 6, 2015
- "Nassau Music Society's Quartetto Gelato melts hearts". thenassauguardian.com. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
- "Classical Notes: OSO and Quartetto Gelato show their gypsy colours". by Jim Elderton, Vernon Morning Star, Mar 8, 2015
- "Juno Awards Database". junoawards.ca. Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- "All Original – 100% Canadian - Quartetto Gelato" "Tiina Kiik, The Whole Note, September 1, 2015"
- "All Original – 100% Canadian - Quartetto Gelato QGPI Records" "John Sunier, Audiophile Audition, August 8, 2015"