Much sought after for his versatility as both a cellist and arranger, Alastair Eng has established himself as one of the premiere Canadian musicians of his generation. Hailed by The Globe & Mail as “a highly trained specialist...[with] a secure yet flexible sense of rhythm”, Mr. Eng is the Associate Principal Cellist of The Canadian Opera Company. Outside of his work with the COC, he also performs with The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, and the Santa Fe Opera Company. As a chamber musician, he has appeared at festivals such as Banff, Ottawa Chamberfest, Ravinia, Rockport, and Steamboat Music Festivals.
“A rock cello god is born” (Ottawa Citizen). Eng is a founding member of the grunge cello band The Samurai String Squad. Their existence was conceived out of a desire to fuse the beauty of classical music with the awesome power of alternative rock. Their performances have been met with rave reviews: "The string squad is breaking barriers between musical genres and attitudes" (Ottawa Citizen). “When the quartet came back after the break for their second set, there was a lot less grey hair in the hall. But the youngsters howled with even more delight – “Woohoo!” – at each new song. They even sang along to Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun”. (The Globe & Mail)
Eng’s work as an arranger encompasses over sixty works for a wide variety of instrumentations. His arrangements have been heard in the Musikverein, Calderwood Hall, Jordan Hall, as well as many other venues across North America and Europe. His works have been called “sweet” (Boston Globe), “delightfully schmalzy” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer), and "serious and surreal" (Strings Magazine). He regularly receives new commissions, and is always open to exploring strange new worlds of sound and texture. He has appeared on NPR, CBC Radio, and can be heard on the Azica and Naxos record labels. Mr. Eng earned his Master of Music with Honors from The New England Conservatory, and holds a Performance Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto).
Away from the music world Alastair is an unabashed Trekkie, and frequently Settles the Island of Catan. Truth be told, he actually owns a board game called “Star Trek Catan”. He is also a devoted sports fan. Together with his wife, violinist Ashley Vandiver, they hold season tickets to the Toronto Blue Jays, where whenever the Jays play host to Ashley’s beloved Boston Red Sox, they know at least one of them is going home happy.