Chan said it's difficult to define the workload division between the symphony and the quartet. The past two seasons, though, have leaned more in the direction of the quartet.
"The quartet has been working a lot more in the last couple years, with more demand in school concerts," she said. "And this season and the end of last season, we have also played more recitals out of town."
She estimated that the ensemble performed six or seven out-of-town recitals last season. Later this year, it will have a weeklong residency in Lewisburg, performing at schools there before giving a public concert at Carnegie Hall.
"We've discovered all these wonderful places in West Virginia," Chan said of the out-of-town shows. "We meet a lot of very interesting people and see a lot of places that are very special."
Choosing what to play at these performances is a group decision.
"There's a lot of democracy involved -- and a lot of arguments involved," Chan laughed. "A lot of people not getting what they want involved.
"We have meetings where we just suggest what we'd like to play," she continued. "A lot of times, its just about the four of us agreeing on what to play, and sometimes somebody might have an idea for a theme."
Last year, Montclaire performed a themed program called "Miniatures," which Chan said was a success. The format for classical music concerts, she said, is usually one shorter piece, one that's slightly longer, an intermission and then a bigger, longer piece in the end. "Miniatures" abandoned that format.
"We came up with the idea of doing a concert where everything is very short," she said. "So, basically, we found a whole bunch of pieces, some as short as slightly over a minute."
Chan said the audience feedback was very good. A similar concert is planned for next season.
The Montclaire String Quartet performs the third of its four Charleston concerts on Feb. 24. The program, "The Kreutzer Sonata," includes pieces by Beethoven and Bach. The showcase piece is written by Leos Janacek.
"It's a very, very dramatic piece based on Tolstoy's short story, 'The Kreutzer Sonata,'" Chan said. "It's incredibly dramatic. There is murder and everything, all expressed in music. I would say it's very different from what people might think of as an afternoon of string quartet music."