Emerson Quartet

The Emerson Quartet Plays Final KC Concert in Yardley Hall

Join the Midwest Trust Center and Friends of Chamber Music – Kansas City as they present the Emerson Quartet with guest cellist, David Finckel, Saturday, February 18 at 8 p.m. One of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles will present works by Beethoven and Schubert in Yardley Hall on the campus of Johnson County Community College as part of its farewell tour.

Stacie McDaniel, Executive Director for the Midwest Trust Center noted “We are excited to partner with the Friends of Chamber Music again for such a momentous performance. To be one of the select venues on the Emerson Quartet’s farewell tour, and one of the very few with cellist David Finckel is truly an honor. The Midwest Trust Center is proud to showcase world-class ensembles like Emerson through these collaborations.”

The Quartet, which takes its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, has balanced busy performing careers with a commitment to teaching and serves as Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. Current ensemble members include Eugene Drucker (violin), Philip Setzer (violin), Lawrence Dutton (viola) and Paul Watkins (cello).

Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson String Quartet was one of the first quartets to have its violinists alternate in the first chair position.  In 2013, cellist Paul Watkins—a distinguished soloist, award-wining conductor and devoted chamber musician—joined the original members of the Quartet to form today’s group.

In the spring of 2016, the State University of New York awardedfull-time Stony Brook faculty members Philip Setzer and Lawrence Dutton the status of Distinguished Professor and conferred the title of Honorary Distinguished Professor on part-time faculty members Eugene Drucker and Paul Watkins. The Quartet’s members also hold honorary doctorates from Middlebury College, the College of Wooster, Bard College and the University of Hartford. In January of 2015, the Quartet received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, Chamber Music America’s highest honor, in recognition of its significant and lasting contribution to the chamber music field. 

During the 2021-2022 season, the Quartet performed the New York premiere of André Previn’s Penelope at Carnegie Hall, alongside soprano Renée Fleming, actress Uma Thurman and pianist Simone Dinnerstein, before reprising the program in a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to touring major American venues extensively, the Quartet returned to Chamber Music Society of Louisville, where it completed the second half of a Beethoven cycle they began in spring 2020. Finally, the Quartet embarked on a six-city tour of Europe, with stops in Athens, Madrid, Pisa, Florence, Milan and London’s Southbank Centre where it presented the Emerson in a complete Shostakovich cycle, one of the staples in its repertoire.

The Quartet’s extensive discography includes the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bartok, Webern and Shostakovich, as well as multi-CD sets of the major works of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Dvorak. In 2018, Deutsche Grammophon issued a box of the Emerson Complete Recordings on the label. In October 2020, the group released a recording of Schumann’s three string quartets for the Pentatone label. In the preceding year, the Quartet joined forces with GRAMMY-winning pianist Evgeny Kissin to release their debut collaborative album for Deutsche Grammophon, recorded live at a sold-out Carnegie Hall concert in 2018. 

Saturday’s program will include (subject to change):

  • Franz Schubert String Quartet in A minor, D. 804 “Rosamunde”
  • Franz Schubert Quartettsatz in C minor, D. 703
  • Franz Schubert String Quintet in C Major, D. 956

To learn more, visit jccc.edu/MidwestTrustCenter. Purchase tickets here.

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