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College of Extended Learning

Brunswick String Quartet


Members of Brunswick String Quartet for its final years. Left to right: Joseph Pach, Paul Campbell, James Pataki, Paul Pulford


In 1970, Canada Council for the Arts agrees to provide financial assistance for having more resident musicians at UNB. As a result, Andrew Benac (violin), James Pataki (viola) and Ifan Williams (cello) joined UNB. With existing resident musician Joseph Pach as Violin I, the UNB Pach String Quartet was formed. After two years in 1972, Andrew Benac left the group so they performed as a string trio for a year. The next year, with the arrival of Paul Campbell as second violin and Richard Naill as cello, the Brunswick String Quartet was formed. In 1984, Richard Naill was replaced by Paul Pulford. Before its dissolution in 1989, they have toured Canada, USA and Europe, participated various music festivals, taught at music camps, been broadcast frequently on CBC, and gave countless school concerts across Atlantic Canada. Most of these activities were under the arrangement of Arlene Nimmons Pach, who has also performed many piano quintet works with the group through its existence.

The UNB Pach String Quartet (1970-72)

In the 60s, violinist Joseph Pach, one of the resident musicians at UNB, a student of Kathleen Parlow, had the dream to start a string quartet with his Parlow colleagues: Andrew Benac, James Pataki and Rowland Pack. Unfortunately, Rowland died at the age of 37 due to Hodgkin's Disease in 1964. However, Joseph was able to secure Andrew on the second violin and James on the viola. As for cellist, son of the Welsh-born violinist Ifan Williams, whose name is also Ifan Williams, took on the responsibility. Andy, Jimmy and Ifan joined UNB as resident musicians in the fall of 1970, while the Quartet gave its premiere performance on March 30, 1971.

Brunswickan, 12 Mar 1971: String Quartet Premiere Performance

Publicity shot of the Brunswick String Quartet and Arlene Pach at Keswick Bridge, 1971. Courtesy of UNB Archives, PR5463

Other than giving evening recitals, noon-hour concerts, workshops, regional CBC radio broadcasts and organizing the Summer Festival of Chamber Music and Jazz, they also gave school concerts in Atlantic provinces starting 1971. In June 1971, in memory of Walter Baker (a physics professor at UNB for 15 years and chairman of the Creative Arts Committee, died in a car accident in December 1970), the string quartet released its first record.

The Brunswick String Quartet (1973-89)

After the leaving of Andrew Benac, they performed as a trio for their 1972-73 season. In the fall of 1973, cellist Richard Naill and violinist Paul Campbell joined. In addition to the activities from 1970-73, they have toured Canada, USA and Europe multiple times, expanded their school concerts to across Canada, and played at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. They also released two records: Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor, Op.34 with Arlene Nimmons (CBC Canadian Collection SM 250); Mendelssoh & Shostakovich Octets with Purcell String Quartet (CBC Canadian Collection SM 304).

The Daily Gleaner, 17 May 1976: Brunswick Strings Give Rich, Varied Program

Letter from a student after a school concert, 7 Apr 1981

Brunswick String Quartet playing at Priestman St. School, October 1981. Courtesy of UNB Archives, PR, File 767, no 19

UNB president James Downey displays the t-shirt with logo for Brunswick String Quartet, 1983. Courtesy of UNB Archives, PR, File 767, no 9

In the fall of 1983, the string quartet added manager Janet Toole to handle the high demand in its administrative work due to as it was then one of the most forefront string quartet in Canada and had a very busy schedule. In the fall of 1984, with Richard Naill leaving and joining Le Trio Haydn de Montreal, Paul Pulford joined as the cellist.

Halifax Herald, 7 Dec 1987: Brunswick String Quartet display unique character

Brunswick String Quartet with manager Janet Toole. Photo by Harry Mullin. Courtesy of UNB Archives, PR, File 767, no 7

Brunswick String Quartet playing. Joseph Pach, Paul Campbell, James Pataki and Paul Pulford. November 1987. Courtesy of UNB Archives, PR, File 767, no 17

The string quartet dissolved at the end of the 1989 season. It was one of the three Canadian university resident string quartets sustained by funding from the Canada Arts Council. These three string quartets were also the foremost in Canada. The other two are Orford String Quartet and Purcell String Quartet.

Listen to Brunswick String Quartet

The UNB Pach String Quartet - Mozart String Quartet in C major, K.465, I. Adagio-Allegro

Brunswick String Quartet - Beethoven Op.95, I. Allegro con brio

Content provided by The Canadian Encyclopedia, UNB Archives and Laurie Pach. Appreciations!
Last Updated: June 25, 2018 by Yiyang Shi