October 18th, 2009 at 4 p.m.
Robert Schumann Quartet, Op. 41 No. 1
Dmitri Shostakovich Quartet, No. 11
Ludwig van Beethoven Quartet, Op. 59 No. 1
The Takács String Quartet opens the 2009-10 Candlelight concert season. Recognized as one of the world’s great ensembles, the Takács Quartet plays with a unique blend of drama, warmth, and humor, combining four distinct musical personalities to bring fresh insights to the string quartet repertoire. Commenting on their latest Schubert recording for Hyperion, Gramophone magazine noted; “The Takács have 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.”
Based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, the Takács Quartet performs ninety concerts a year worldwide, throughout Europe as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. The 2009-2010 season includes cycles of the complete Beethoven Quartets in London, where the members of the Quartet are Associate Artists at the South Bank Centre, and in Madrid. The quartet will play a series of two Beethoven concerts in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and give their first concert in St.Petersburg. At Carnegie’s Zankel Hall a series of three concerts will feature the Schumann Quartets and works that were composed last year for the Takács by Wolfgang Rihm, James Macmillan and John Psathas. The quartet will perform over 40 concerts in North America and open the season of the San Diego Symphony with performances of Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and Handel-Schoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra.
The Quartet’s award-winning recordings include the complete Beethoven Cycle on the Decca label. In 2005, the Late Beethoven Quartets won Disc of the Year and Chamber Award from BBC Music Magazine, a Gramophone Award and a Japanese Record Academy Award. Their recordings of the early and middle Beethoven quartets collected a Grammy, another Gramophone Award, a Chamber Music of America Award and two further awards from the Japanese Recording Academy. Of their performances and recordings of the Late Quartets, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote, “The Takács might play this repertoire better than any [string] quartet of the past or present.”
In 2006 the Takács Quartet made their first recording for Hyperion Records of Schubert’s D804 and D810. A disc featuring Brahms’ Piano Quintet with Stephen Hough was released to great acclaim in November 2007 and was subsequently nominated for a Grammy. Brahms’ Quartets Op. 51 and Op. 67 was released in the Fall of 2008 and a disc featuring the Schumann Piano Quintet with Marc-Andre Hamelin will be released in late 2009. The complete Haydn “Apponyi” Quartets, Op. 71 and 74, will be released in early 2011.
The Takács has also made sixteen recordings for the Decca label since 1988 of works by Beethoven, Bartok, Borodin, Brahms, Chausson, Dvorak, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Smetana, and Bartok. The latter recording of the Bartok String Quartets received the 1998 Gramophone Award for chamber music and, in 1999, was nominated for a Grammy. They Takacs has collaborated with such artists as Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, András Schiff, and Gyorgy Pauk.
The quartet is known for innovative programming. In 2007 it performed, with Academy Award–winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Everyman” in Carnegie Hall, inspired by the Philip Roth novel. The group collaborates regularly with the Hungarian folk ensemble Muzsikas, performing a program that explores the folk sources of Bartok’s music. The Takács also performed a music and poetry program on a fourteen city US tour with the poet Robert Pinsky.
At the University of Colorado, the Takács Quartet has helped to develop a string program with a special emphasis on chamber music, where students work in a nurturing environment designed to help them develop their artistry. The Quartet’s commitment to teaching is enhanced by summer residencies at the Aspen Festival and at the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara. The Takács is also a Visiting Quartet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.
The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, while all four were students. It first received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics’ Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The Quartet also won 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. The Quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982. Violinist Edward Dusinberre joined the Quartet in 1993 and violist Roger Tapping in 1995. Violist Geraldine Walther replaced Mr. Tapping in 2005. Of the original ensemble, Károly Schranz and András Fejér remain. In 2001, the Takács Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary.
The October 18th concert takes place at 4:00 p.m. at the Wilton Congregational Church, just north of Wilton center on Route 33. Tickets may be obtained at the door for $25 dollars ($10 for students). For information on subscriptions to the entire four concert series, go to the ticket order page. Season tickets start at $90 ($75 for seniors); and patrons and benefactors of the series have the option of bringing two or four children under 16 (respectively) to the concerts free of cost. For more information on this concert or on the series or to order a series brochure to be sent to you, call (203) 762-3401 or (203) 762-5019. Candlelight Concerts benefits the Wilton Library, and happily accepts individual and corporate tax deductible contributions.