Internationally acclaimed Takács Quartet returns to Middlebury for April 13 performance
April 3, 2007
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - On Friday, April 13, at 8 p.m., the internationally celebrated Takács Quartet will perform in Mead Chapel, located on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The concert marks the group's 20th appearance at Middlebury since first performing at the college in 1994. The program will feature quartets by Debussy, Shostakovich and Brahms.
Now entering its 31st season, the Takács Quartet is recognized as one of the world's leading string quartets. Harriet Smith of Gramophone Magazine described the ensemble as having "the ability to make you believe that there's no other possible way the music should go and the strength to overturn preconceptions that comes only with the greatest performers." And The Guardian's Andrew Clements called them "the greatest string quartet in the world."
The group, which includes Edward Dusinberre and Károly Schranz on violin, Geraldine Walther on viola and András Fejér on cello, has appeared in concert halls throughout the world and performed a repertoire ranging from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert to Bartok, Britten, Dutilleux, Janacek and Sheng - as well as new quartets by contemporary composers, including Middlebury College Professor of Music Su Lian Tan.
Formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by students Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, the Takács Quartet first received international attention in 1977 when they placed first and won the Critics' Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The group went on to win the gold medal at the 1978 Portsmouth and Bordeaux Competitions, and first prizes at the Budapest International String Quartet Competition in 1978 and the Bratislava Competition in 1981, before making their North American debut in 1982. Of the original ensemble, only Schranz and Fejér remain. Dusinberre joined in 1993 and Walther in 2005.
Based in Boulder, Colo., the quartet has been in residence at the University of Colorado since 1983. The group is also a Resident Quartet at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and, in 2005, its members were named Associate Artists of the South Bank Center in London.
Tour highlights for the 2006-2007 season include performances in Japan and Korea; a continuation of the complete Beethoven cycle at University of California at Berkeley and in Napa, Calif.; concerts with pianist Stephen Hough throughout Europe and the United States; and appearances at the Aspen Festival and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.
Recent performances have included the Beethoven cycle in New York, Cleveland, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Sydney; the Bartok cycle in Cleveland, London, Madrid, Seville, Valencia, New York, Berkeley and Tokyo; the Brahms cycle in London; the Schubert cycle in London, Lisbon and various cities in Italy, the Netherlands and Spain; the world premiere performance of Bright Sheng's Quartet No. 3; the world premiere of Su Lian Tan's Life in Wayang; a 14-city U.S. tour with the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, Robert Pinsky; and a series of concerts with the Hungarian folk ensemble Muzsikas exploring the connections between traditional Hungarian folk melodies and the works of Bartok and Kodaly.
The Takács Quartet is known for its award-winning recordings on the Decca label, including the complete Beethoven quartet cycle, which received a Grammy Award, two Gramophone Awards, the BBC "Music Disc of the Year," the Classical Brits Award for Ensemble Album of the Year and three Japan Record Academy Chamber Music Awards. In 2005 the quartet signed a contract with Hyperion Records.
Performing Arts Series Director Paul Nelson said, "Some people argue that one shouldn't present an artist twice, and certainly not often. It seems to us, however, that there are very good reasons to hear artists more than once, indeed regularly, when the performing is outstanding. From the moment the Takács Quartet plays the first notes on the program, audiences know what we mean - they want to hear them again and again." The Takács Quartet appears by arrangement with Seldy Cramer Artists, and records for Hyperion and Decca/London Records.
The concert is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors. For tickets, call the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433. Online tickets and more information are available at www.middlebury.edu/arts.