Don't let the name fool you: the Boston String Quartet is not a starched-collar, strictly classical-oriented group in its playing style and repertory. This ensemble of string players is at home in classical music, as well as jazz, rock, and various ethnic styles. Moreover, it typically performs music -- whether classical, rock, or whatever -- in quite imaginative arrangements of its own devising. But the BSQ members are unique in other ways, as well: they not only regularly appear in concert, but perform at weddings and special events. In addition, their concerts often feature guest artists, like Fionnuala Gill, lead vocalist with Riverdance, and Giorgia Fumanti, a popular opera/crossover singer. But the venue of their concerts is more interesting still: the BSQ's 2008-2009 Xibus Tour took place at nine high schools in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and other states. And the group conducted classes and rehearsals with the orchestras of each of those schools in preparation for a joint evening concert. The BSQ has recorded for Groove Records and Navona.
The Boston String Quartet was formed in 2004. The group's leader is first violinist Christopher Vuk, who also serves as director of the School of Groove in Cambridge, MA. The other members of the group are Russian-born Anastasia Sukhopara (second violinist), Taiwan native Lin Chen (violist), and Japanese-born Masanori Taniguchi (cellist).
Though the BSQ has drawn fairly consistent positive reviews for its technique and interpretative skills, two of the members are relative late-comers to their instrument: Taniguchi, who also holds advanced degrees in chronobiology, didn't begin playing the cello until he was 18, and Chen was 11 when she took up the viola.
The BSQ gave its debut concert at the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall and shortly afterward made high-profile appearances at the Los Angeles Music Awards and on PBS.
In December 2006 the BSQ's first recording, Spectrum, a collection of arrangements of various musical genres, was issued on Groove Records. The following December a second album was released by the label On Christmas Eve.
The aforementioned Xibus tour, begun in late 2008 and ending in January 2009, coincided with the release on Navona of the group's third CD, Xibus, another collection of mixed arrangements. While most of the BSQ's repertory is made up of arranged material, some is not, as is evidenced by its fourth CD, from 2009, featuring Dvorak's String Quartet No. 12 and Ravel's F major Quartet.