Black Dog String Quartet

Formed in 2007, the Black Dog String Quartet is comprised of some of Vancouver’s finest young musicians. The group has appeared on the recordings of artists such as 54-40, Marianas Trench, Bleeding Through, and many others. Individual members have performed live on stage with some of the world’s top acts, including Rod Stewart, Kanye West, Sting, Michael Buble, Mariah Carey, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Video Games Live.

The quartet’s excellent playing and reputation have landed them in studios with producers like Warne Livesey (Midnight Oil, The Matthew Good Band), Dave Genn (54-40), and Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad). Recent performance highlights include opening for Sarah McLachlan at the SPC Global Conference, a concert with Measha Brueggergosman at the Chan Centre, and an appearance at the Shambhala Music Festival.

  • Elyse Jacobson

    Musically inclined from birth, Seattle native Elyse Jacobson began studying the violin at the age of five. During her teen years, mentorship from members of the Philadelphia String Quartet ignited in her a lifelong passion for chamber music, and she went on to become a member of several exceptionally dedicated and award-winning small ensembles through her teens and early twenties. This led her to receive coachings with some of the world’s finest chamber musicians, including members of the Kronos, Penderecki, Lafayette, Chester, and St. Lawrence quartets, and to be twice named a semifinalist in the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

    After moving to Vancouver, BC, Elyse went on to complete her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance at the University of British Columbia, under the tutelage of Jasper Wood. Today she performs regularly with the Black Dog String Quartet, in addition to freelancing with many other ensembles.

    An experienced orchestral musician, Elyse won her first professional symphony orchestra position at the age of 19, and has spent her whole adult life performing regularly with various orchestras in British Columbia and Washington state. She is Assistant Concertmaster of the Kamloops Symphony and is Concertmaster of the Plastic Acid Orchestra, a Vancouver-based professional symphony orchestra sought after for its versatility. The PAO has performed several times with Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses to a sold-out Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and has been featured at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

    Elyse enjoys a highly varied musical career. She has appeared on stage and in recordings with a wide range of artists, including Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, Kanye West, Marianas Trench, The New Pornographers, Bleeding Through, Video Games Live, 54-40, The Album Leaf, Fiora, Tambura Rasa, Ninjaspy, Jordan Klassen, Dominique Fricot, and many others, and has completed several concert tours in Europe, the United States, and Canada with various artists. She also performs and records often for television shows, films, and theatre productions. Current and past projects include classical crossover act Vivace, avant-garde pop-rock ensemble Strength of Materials, and acclaimed “exotic symphonic rock” group The Living, of which Elyse was a founding member.


  • Molly MacKinnon

    Originally from Nelson, B.C, Molly grew up in a thriving arts community where she had numerous opportunities to develop her love for classical and Celtic music. She had the pleasure of playing in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 2006 and 2009, and in the latter year won the position of concertmaster and received a NYOC Board of Directors Leadership Award. Molly has been featured in theatre productions The Idiot (Neworld Theatre/Vancouver Moving Theatre), STATIONARY: A Recession-Era Musical (Delinquent Theatre), and The Tempest (Bard on the Beach). In addition to the Black Dog String Quartet, Molly also performs with such groups as the VSO, the Ruffled Feathers, and Animal Atlas.


  • John Kastelic

    A phenomenally gifted musician, John Kastelic is highly sought-after as a violist, violinist, and teacher. Equally at home in classical and pop music, he has performed on stage with internationally renowned artists including Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé. He has performed as principal violist with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the Plastic Acid Orchestra and is a regular member of the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra. As a violist, John is active with two experimental rock bands: The Living and Strength of Materials. Along with his brother, Tony Kastelic, he is half of the fiddle-rock duo, NO MOTHERS. On violin, he performs frequently with Jay Malinowski and the Deadcoast, with whom he completed a cross-Canada tour in the spring of 2014. Always excited to learn new instruments and music, he is a member of the Balinese Gamelan Gita Asmara, with whom he toured across Bali in the summer of 2013. John holds a Bachelor’s Degree in music from the University of British Columbia where graduated with a double-major in composition and music scholarship, studying viola with David Harding. Raised in southern Alberta, he has called Vancouver home since 2005. Outside his musical occupations, John is an enthusiastic bicyclist, reader, and gardener. 


  • Doug Gorkoff

    Doug Gorkoff is a full time cellist and is very active throughout the lower mainland as a performer, educator and session musician. He regularly plays in the cello section for the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, principal cello for the Plastic Acid Orchestra, as well as cellist for the “exotic symphonic rock” powerhouse, The Living. Doug’s extremely diverse musical interests and creative flexibility have allowed him to contribute and collaborate on recordings of many different genres including with Tambura Rasa, 54-40, Michael Moriarty, Strapping Young Lad, Marianas Trench, and many more. He has been fortunate enough to perform along side many live acts, most notably Sting, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Johnny Mathis, Randy Quaid and Dan Mangan. In addition to maintaining a thriving private teaching studio, Doug is also in demand as a clinician, adjudicator and sectional coach. 


Consistently delivering performances with “conviction and imaginative sensitivity” (Vancouver Classical Music), the Black Dog String Quartet appears regularly at various public and private events, including classical chamber concerts, weddings, and corporate functions, as well as on film and television scores and other studio recordings. They’ve been a featured ensemble at the Quartetti Festival of String Quartets, Sonic Boom Festival of New Music, and Classical Revolution Vancouver, and all four members play regularly with multiple symphony orchestras.

Their solid classical background, high skill level, and collective open-mindedness set the Black Dog String Quartet apart as one of Vancouver’s most unique and versatile ensembles.

*Violin 2 for Tambura Rasa appearances: Cameron Wilson


  • 1.  Canon in D (Pachelbel)
  • 2.  Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Bach)
  • 3.  Air on the G String (Bach)
  • 4.  Rondeau (Mouret)
  • 5.  Largo from "Winter" (Vivaldi)
  • 6.  Begin the Beguine
  • 7.  It Had to Be You
  • 8.  When I'm 64 (The Beatles)
  • 9.  Brandenburg Concerto #3, mvmt. 1 (Bach)
  • 10.  Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
  • 11.  Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Mozart)
  • 12.  Tango Medley

No shows booked at the moment.


The Black Dog String Quartet is available for weddings, parties, corporate events, concert appearances, recording sessions, chamber ensemble coaching, and more. Contact us for rates and availability.