January 4, 2001

World-class string quartet returns to Middlebury College Jan. 24 and 27

Takács Quartet to perform all six of Bela Bartók’s string quartets

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.--One of the world’s leading string ensembles, the Takács Quartet, returns to Middlebury College this month for performances Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. Both concerts will be at the College’s Concert Hall at the Center for the Arts on South Main Street (Route 30).

Famous for their interpretation of Bela Bartók’s works, the group’s members will perform all six of the Hungarian composer’s string quartets, pieces regarded as cornerstones of all chamber music. Their recording of these pieces won the Gramophone Chamber Music of the Year Award in 1998, and in 1999 it was nominated for a Grammy.

Bartók’s music speaks to the spirit of the Takács Quartet, which was founded in Hungary in 1975 by four students of Budapest’s Liszt Academy. Within two years, the group was winning international competitions and attention. Since 1983, it has held a residency at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Its members also teach and perform as fellows at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Today, the ensemble is only half Hungarian; two original members―violinist Karoly Schranz and cellist Andras Fejer―remain. English violinists Edward Dusinberre and Roger Tapping joined them in 1993. The evolution didn’t slow the group’s momentum in garnering accolades around the world. After a 1999 performance, the Indianapolis Star declared that the quartet’s members “functioned as if they shared one soul.”

The Takács’ recent performances of Bartók’s quartets have met with wide acclaim. Describing the pieces, a reviewer at New York’s Newsday declared them “imposing pinnacles of 20th century musical achievement, unsurpassed in expressive power and dizzying in range of sonorities and harmonic textures.” Impressed with how the quartet handled these works, the same reviewer exclaimed, “The Takács played with a warmth, passion and lyricism that challenged the dominant perception of this music.”

The Washington Post in 1998 reviewed two of the quartet’s performances of Bartók: “It was bliss … In short, we were hearing artistry of the highest caliber.”

During the 1999-2000 season, the Takács Quartet performed more than 50 concerts in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan. The group first visited Middlebury College during its 1998-99 season.

The upcoming Vermont performances are sponsored by the Middlebury College Concert Series.  Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for senior citizens.  Pre-performance dinners will be held both nights at Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts. Wednesday’s dinner begins at 6 p.m. and Saturday’s at 6:30 p.m. For tickets or dinner reservations, call the College box office 802-443-6433.