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Emerson String Quartet

Saturday, September 29, 2012

8:00 PM, Mead Memorial Chapel

Emerson String Quartet

Eugene Drucker, violin
Philip Setzer, violin
Lawrence Dutton, viola
David Finckel, cello

The Emerson String Quartet has amassed more than 30 acclaimed recordings, 9 Grammy Awards, 3 Gramophone Awards, and the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, among other achievements. The list of the quartet’s connections to Middlebury is nearly as long: 31 performances, 4 honorary degrees, and a performance at the Mahaney Center’s opening gala in 1992. Honoring cellist David Finckel’s last season with the Emerson, the Performing Arts Series presents the quartet in Mead Chapel, where they made their campus debut in 1981. The program includes works by Schumann, Shostakovich, and Beethoven (his first “Razumovsky” quartet). Associate Professor Larry Hamberlin offers a preconcert lecture at 7:30 pm. President Ronald. D Liebowitz and his wife Jessica graciously host a reception for the quartet in the McCullough Social Space. All audience members are invited to attend immediately following the performance. Tickets: $25/20/6* Read the press release>>

*Special Quartet Package offer: Purchase tickets to both the Emerson and Takács (October 2) string quartet concerts at $20/15/5 each Go to the Box Office>>

This concert is the capstone event of the 2012 Clifford Symposium.

Photo J. Henry Fair



The Emerson String Quartet performing Dmitri Shostakovich's 
String Quartet no. 3, III. allegro non troppo.



ROBERT SCHUMANN Quartet in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3  

Andante espressivo
Allegro molto moderato
Assai agitato
Adagio molto
Finale: Allegro molto vivace

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH Quartet No. 12 in D-flat Major, Op. 133

Allegretto — Adagio – Allegretto


LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN String Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1  

Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
Adagio molto e mesto
Thème Russe: Allegro

Ensemble Biography


Eugene Drucker, violin
Philip Setzer, violin
Lawrence Dutton, viola
David Finckel, cello 

The Emerson String Quartet stands alone in the history of string quartets with an unparalleled list of achievements over three decades: over thirty acclaimed recordings since 1987, nine Grammy® Awards (including two for Best Classical Album, an unprecedented honor for a chamber music group), three Gramophone Awards, the coveted Avery Fisher Prize and cycles of the complete Beethoven, Bartók, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich string quartets in the world’s musical capitals. The Quartet has collaborated in concerts and on recordings with some of the greatest artists of our time. In 2000, the Emerson was named "Ensemble of the Year" by Musical America, and, in March 2004, became the 18th recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize. 

In March 2011, Sony Classical announced an exclusive agreement with the Emerson String Quartet. The Quartet's debut album for the label was released in October 2011 to coincide with a series of concerts at Wigmore Hall in London and Alice Tully Hall in New York City. In June 2012, the Emerson embarked on their first tour of China which included sold-out performances in Shenzhen, Tianjin and Beijing. In 2012-2013, its 36th season as an ensemble, the Emerson performs extensively throughout North America, highlighted by a concert in Carnegie Hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium with pianist Yefim Bronfman, cellist Colin Carr and violist Paul Neubauer.  European engagements take the Quartet to the Canary Islands as well as to Paris, Moscow, Salzburg, Vienna, Copenhagen, Munich, Perugia and London.  The Emerson continues its series at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, for its 33rd season. An album of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence and Schoenberg’s Verklaerte Nacht is slated for release by Sony in March of 2013. 

Of the multiple highlights and extraordinary projects accredited to the Emerson Quartet, several milestone achievements stand out:

  • In both 1981 and 1988, the Quartet attracted national attention with the presentation of the six Bartók quartets in a single evening, first at Lincoln Center and later for its Carnegie Hall debut. The Emerson’s recording of the cycle received the 1989 Grammy® Awards for “Best Classical Album” and “Best Chamber Music Performance” and Gramophone Magazine’s 1989 “Record of the Year Award” – the first time in the history of each award that a chamber music ensemble had ever received the top prize.

  • In March 1997, the Quartet released a seven-disc set of the complete Beethoven quartets and presented a sold-out series of performances over two seasons at New York’s Lincoln Center entitled “Beethoven and the Twentieth Century.” The Beethoven recording earned a Grammy® Award for “Best Chamber Music Album.”

  • In 2000, the Emerson performed the complete Shostakovich quartets at Lincoln Center in New York and in London, in a cycle divided between the Wigmore Hall and the Barbican. Each series culminated with The Noise of Time, a theatrical presentation directed by Simon McBurney featuring the Quartet and Complicité, Mr. McBurney’s theater company. Since 2001, The Noise of Time has been repeated in Los Angeles, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and Moscow. The five-disc set won the 2000 Grammy® Awards for “Best Classical Album” and “Best Chamber Music Performance,” as well asGramophone Magazine’s “Best Chamber Music Performance” Award for 2000. In 2008, New York Magazine named The Noise of Time one of the most important contributions to the arts in New York since the inception of the magazine.

  • In 2007, the Quartet celebrated 30 years of activity and 20 years as exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artists with a historic nine-concertPerspectives series in Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, titled Beethoven In Context. The series, which spanned three centuries of repertoire, received an overwhelming response and nine outstanding reviews in The New York Times.

  • Since 2002, the Emerson has been Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. Prior to that time they were affiliated for twenty years with the Hartt School of Music. The Emerson has had a residency at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC for 32 seasons.

Formed in the bicentennial year of the United States, the Emerson String Quartet took its name from the great American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Founding members of the Emerson, violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer were joined by violist Lawrence Dutton in 1977 and cellist David Finckel in 1979. To commemorate its 25th-anniversary season, the Quartet compiled a commemorative book entitled Converging Lines. Written in the members’ own words, the book contains never-before-published text, graphics and photos from the Emerson’s private archives. The Quartet is based in New York City.  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. Mr. Finckel, who joined the Emerson Quartet in 1979, will leave the group to devote more time to his personal artistic endeavors.

The Emerson String Quartet appears by arrangement with IMG Artists and records exclusively for Sony Classical.



Press Quotes
"... with musicians like this there must be some hope for humanity."— The Times (London)

"The performances were everything we have come to expect from this superb ensemble:  technically resourceful, musically insightful, cohesive, full of character and always interesting."— The New York Times

"Few string quartets have regularly displayed such individuality among members -- an ideal stance for coloring and differentiating the complex strands of the fugues."— The Philadelphia Inquirer

"The precision and grace with which the ensemble dispatched the opening of the final movement was breathtaking, and by the adrenaline-pumping coda it was difficult to sit still."—

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