Audiences Will Enjoy Rare Opportunity to Hear Two of America’s Greatest Chamber Ensembles in Rapid Succession on September 29 and October 2, 2012
Middlebury, VT—The Middlebury College Performing Arts Series launches its 93rd season with two of the world’s finest string quartets in back-to-back concerts. The Emerson String Quartet returns to Middlebury for its 32nd campus recital on September 29, playing works by Schumann, Shostakovich, and Beethoven. Just three nights later, the Takács String Quartet will give its 24th Middlebury concert, including works by Schubert, Britten, and Dvořák, on October 2. The Box Office will offer a special package price to help patrons take advantage of this rare convergence of chamber music talent.
Emerson String Quartet
The Philadelphia Inquirer recently remarked of the Emerson, “few string quartets have regularly displayed such individuality among members—an ideal stance for coloring and differentiating the complex strands of the fugues.” The Emerson String Quartet stands alone in the history of string quartets, with an unparalleled list of achievements over three decades: more than thirty acclaimed recordings since 1987, nine Grammy Awards, three Gramophone Awards, and the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.
Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the quartet took its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. The ensemble is the Quartet in Residence at Stony Brook University. Violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, founding members of the Emerson, were joined by violist Lawrence Dutton in 1977 and cellist David Finckel two years later. The ensemble recently announced what will be its first member change in 34 years, when cellist Paul Watkins replaces David Finckel at the end of the 2012–2013 concert season. Finckel, who joined the Emerson Quartet in 1979, and spent many childhood summers locally on Lake Dunmore, will leave the group to devote more time to his personal artistic endeavors. Since first performing at Middlebury College early in their career in 1981, the quartet has presented 31 performances, received 4 honorary degrees, and performed for the Mahaney Center’s opening gala in 1992.
The Emerson String Quartet will perform on Saturday, September 29, 2012, at 8:00 P.M., in Mead Memorial Chapel. The program includes Robert Schumann’s Quartet in A major, op. 41, no. 3, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Quartet no. 12 in D-flat major, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s first “Razumovsky” quartet. Associate Professor of Music Larry Hamberlin offers a pre-concert lecture at 7:30 P.M. The concert is supported by the Office of the President, and serves as the capstone performance of the Clifford Symposium on Creativity and Collaboration. Learn more about the symposium at http://go.middlebury.edu/clifford.
Recognized as one of the world's great ensembles, the Takács String Quartet (Edward Dusinberre, violin; Károly Schranz, violin; Geraldine Walther, viola; and András Fejér, cello) plays with a unique blend of drama, warmth, and humor, combining four distinct musical personalities to bring fresh insights to the string quartet repertoire. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame. The ensemble won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
The Takács Quartet’s award-winning recordings include the complete Beethoven Cycle on the Decca label. In 2005, the Late Beethoven Quartets won Disc of the Year and Chamber Award from BBC Music Magazine, a Gramophone Award, and a Japanese Record Academy Award. Their recordings of the early and middle Beethoven quartets collected a Grammy, another Gramophone Award, a Chamber Music of America Award, and two further awards from the Japanese Recording Academy. Of their performances and recordings of the Late Quartets, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “The Takács might play this repertoire better than any quartet of the past or present.”
The Takács Quartet will perform on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, at 7:30 P.M. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Their concert program will include Franz Schubert’s “Rosamunde” quartet, Benjamin Britten’s String Quartet no. 2 in C major, and Antonín Dvořák’s “American” quartet.
Individual tickets to either quartet concert are priced at $25. Concertgoers who purchase tickets to both concerts can take advantage of the special quartet package price of $20 per performance. Discounts are available for Middlebury College faculty, staff, students, alumni, and emeriti. Directions to either Mead Chapel or the Mahaney Center for the Arts are available at http://www.middlebury.edu/about/campus. For tickets or information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.
Photo credits from top: J. Henry Fair; Lisa Marie Mazzucco; Ellen Appel;Patrick Ryan