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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
December 6, 2016
Canadian Excellence

L-R: Katie Schlaikjer, Jerzy Kaplanek, Christine Vlajk, Jeremy Bell
L-R: Katie Schlaikjer, Jerzy Kaplanek, Christine Vlajk, Jeremy Bell


Faculty of Music

Distinguished cellist Katie Schlaikjer joins Penderecki String Quartet at Laurier

Feb 14/13


Glen Carruthers, Dean Laurier Faculty of Music 519-884-0710 ext. 2151 or


Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications & Public Affairs Wilfrid Laurier University 519-884-0710 ext. 3070 or

Waterloo - Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Music is pleased to welcome Katie Schlaikjer as the new cellist of the Penderecki String Quartet. Schlaikjer will join fellow members Jeremy Bell, Jerzy Kaplanek, and Christine Vlajk as the Quartet celebrates its 26th season with a series of festival performances and guest teaching appearances in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Katie has travelled the globe since 2009 as a member of the Avalon Quartet and Colorado Quartet. While a member of the Avalon Quartet, The New York Times recognized the group as “altogether a superb team”. This team mentality was recognized in the Penderecki String Quartet when Schlaikjer performed at a concert of Beethoven’s music this past December in Waterloo. The Waterloo Record cited the group as “never sounding better, their ensemble playing was vital and alive with expression and emotion”.

Schlaikjer has been recognized for her incredible talents earning top prizes from the Concert Artist Guild, the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

“It is such an honour for me to be joining the Penderecki String Quartet” said Schlaikjer “In the few months that I have worked and performed with its three exceptional players, I have been deeply impressed with their integrity, skill and intelligence. They have already made me feel profoundly welcomed both professionally and personally, by encouraging me to share my interpretive ideas and offering me their friendship. Playing quartets has been a passion of mine since my teenage years and in many ways I believe my life has led me directly to this position.”

Although performance is a clear strength, she is extremely involved in lending her talents to aspiring performers, having taught chamber music and cello in a variety of venues, including the University of Delaware and the New England Conservatory’s Extension Division. On top of these commitments she has maintained a private teaching studio for seven years in Stony Brook, NY. She has furthered her own learning by participating in residencies at Ravinia's Steans Institute and Aspen's Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, studying with the Vermeer and Emerson String Quartets.

“We are overjoyed to welcome Katie into our quartet” said Quartet member Jerzy Kaplanek. “She has had amazing training from some of the best music schools in the world and comes to Laurier with expertise as a teacher and musician. We are looking forward to continuing to share our passion of quartet playing and teaching at Laurier and abroad with her.”

Schlaikjer received both her Doctoral and Master’s degrees from Stony Brook University and her Bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory. Her primary teaching influences were Timothy Eddy, Laurence Lesser and Andrew Diaz.

The Penderecki String Quartet has been Laurier’s Quartet in Residence since 1991 and has premiered more than 100 new works. The Globe and Mail has applauded the Quartet’s “remarkable range of technical excellence and emotional sweep”.

“A string quartet is all about balance, give and take, action and reaction, on many different levels, not just musically, but personally too” said Glen Carruthers, dean of the Faculty of Music. “Adding a new member to the mix is a huge step, which is why we undertook an extensive international search. I am confident that, in Katie Schlaikjer, we've found the ideal cellist for the PSQ. Her playing is brilliant, her chamber music skills are outstanding and she is a giving and generous person. She will be a tremendous asset, not just to the Quartet and to the Faculty of Music, but to Laurier and the wider community.”

The Penderecki String Quartet, with Katie in her new role, will be performing a tribute to composer R. Murray Schafer on Thursday, March 28th in the Maureen Forester Recital Hall at 12:00pm. The Faculty of Music encourages Wilfrid Laurier University students, faculty, and staff, and the wider community, to attend this free event. The PSQ’s full tour schedule can be accessed through their website. ( )

Please join us in welcoming Katie Schlaikjer to Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Music.

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