The Isabel String Quartet

A photo of the Isabel String Quartet members in the Isabel Bader Centre

Isabel Quartet

The Isabel Quartet is the resident string quartet of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. The quartet presented its inaugural concert in June 2016, and has gone on to present a series of concerts each year, often with visiting guest artists. The quartet also provides workshops, concerts and coaching to young musicians.

Watch the Isabel String Quartet perform Haydn, Mendelsson and John Burge’s Shiraz with Sadaf Amini, Santur virtuoso.

Quartet Members:

Caitlin Boyle, Viola
A JUNO-nominated performing artist, Caitlin Boyle concertized extensively for thirteen years with the Cecilia String Quartet. She won several international awards, including Banff, Bordeaux, and Osaka String Quartet Competitions. The quartet was the John D. Stewart String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto from 2015-2018, where they coordinated the chamber music program as well as holding positions as Adjunct Professors. Ms. Boyle received her doctorate from the University of Toronto in 2015, where she researched nonverbal communication in chamber music for her thesis. Currently a member of Sinfonia Toronto and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, she has also performed and toured with orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Symphony Orchestra, and the Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy.

Julia McFarlane, 2nd Violin
Equally at home as a performer and educator, Julia McFarlane has held the position of principal second violinist of the Kingston Symphony since 2014 and is on faculty at the Canta Arya School for Strings and the National Music Camp. Julia began to study violin at age five and went on to earn performance degrees from McGill University and the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore. Before moving back to her hometown of Kingston, Julia was the principal second violinist of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and co-director of the baroque chamber orchestra Prairie Virtuosi. Julia was concertmaster of the NYCO Symphony Orchestra for ten years and has been a guest clinician and adjudicator at workshops and festivals across Canada.

Katya Poplyansky, 1st Violin
Canadian Violinist Katya Poplyansky is a prize winner at numerous competitions including the Isabel Bader, Tunbridge Wells and Eckhart-Gramatte competitions, where she was awarded the prize for best performance of the commissioned work. An accomplished chamber musician, she has been invited to participate in North Amercian and European festivals, including the Toronto Summer Music Festival, IMS Prussia Cove (UK), Festival Jong Talent Schiermonnikoog (Netherlands), Hvide Sande Masterclass (Denmark), and the Smithsonian Haydn Quartet Academy (US). In Toronto, she has collaborated with the Amici Chamber Ensemble and the ARC Ensemble. In 2022, she was appointed Concertmaster of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto, studying with Jonathan Crow.

Wolf Tormann, Cello
Wolf Tormann studied with Janos Starker and Arto Noras. Before moving to Canada, he held orchestral positions with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Opera Halle, and the Metropolitan Orchestra in Lisbon. He has performed solo recitals in Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Portugal, the United States, and Canada. The Hamilton Spectator described him as a ‘musician of high artistry.’ Wolf frequently plays in the cello section of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, and he is the principal cellist of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. Wolf teaches cello and chamber music at the DAN School of Drama and Music and at Queen’s Community Music.