Emerson String Quartet
Eugene Drucker, Philip Setzer, violin
Lawrence Dutto, viola
David Finckel, cello
Acclaimed for its insightful performances, dynamic artistry and technical mastery, the Emerson String Quartet has amassed an impressive list of achievements: a brilliant series of recordings exclusively documented by Deutsche Grammophon since 1987; eight Grammy Awards including two for Best Classical Album, an unprecedented honor for a chamber music group; three Gramophone Magazine Awards and performances of the complete cycles of Beethoven, Bartók and Shostakovich quartets in major concert halls throughout the world. The ensemble is lauded globally as a string quartet that approaches both classical and contemporary repertoire with equal mastery and enthusiasm. For three decades, the group has collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Misha Dichter, Leon Fleisher, the Guarneri String Quartet, Thomas Hampson, Lynn Harrell, Barbara Bonney, Barbara Hendricks, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Paul McCartney, Menahem Pressler, David Shifrin, Richard Stoltzman and the late Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern and Oscar Shumsky.
In its past season the Quartet performed over 80 worldwide engagements, with a particular focus on Europe including the festivals of Gstaad, Salzburg, Schwarzenberg, Merano, Ascona, Copenhagen, Cologne and Stockholm and the Quartet returned to Europe throughout the season for a three-concert series at London's Wigmore Hall, another three-concert series at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, a two-concert series at Vienna's Konzerthaus, its first appearance at Cité de la Musique in Paris and a pair of concerts at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, with additional concerts in Spain, Austria, France, the UK, Germany and Italy. The Quartet's North American tours include stops in San Francisco, Stanford, Portland, Dallas, Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, Vancouver, Scottsdale, Savannah and Houston. The Emerson continues its residency at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, now in its 28th sold-out season, and appears in New York with pianist Gilbert Kalish for Lincoln Center's Great Performers and with pianist Yefim Bronfman at Carnegie Hall. In the 2006-2007 season the Quartet marked it 30/20 anniversary - celebrating 30 years of quartet artistry and 20 years as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist. Carnegie Hall honored the Quartet with a historic eight-concert Perspectives Series, titled Beethoven in Context, held in the Isaac Stern Auditorium. Throughout its history, the Emerson String Quartet has garnered an international reputation for groundbreaking chamber music projects and correlated recordings for Deutsche Grammophon. In 1988, the Quartet attracted national attention with the presentation of the six Bartók quartets in a single evening for its Carnegie Hall debut. The Emerson's subsequent release 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.
Dedicated to the performance of classical repertoire, the Emerson String Quartet also has a strong commitment to the commissioning and performance of 20th- and 21st-century music. Important commissions and premieres include compositions by Kaija Saariaho (2007), Nicholas Maw (2006), Andre Prévin (2003), Joan Tower (2003), Ellen Taaffe Zwillich (1998), Edgar Meyer (1995), Ned Rorem (1995), Paul Epstein (1994), Wolfgang Rihm (1993), Richard Wernick (1991), Richard Danielpour (1988), John Harbison (1987), Gunther Schuller (1986), George Tsontakis (1984), Maurice Wright (1983), Ronald Caltabiano (1981) and Mario Davidovsky (1979).
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. Violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer alternate in the first chair position and are joined by violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist David Finckel.