Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 4 p.m.
Haydn: String Quartet op. 76 no. 5
Britten: String Quartet no. 2
Dvořák: String Quartet in F "American" op. 96
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.
In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London. 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.
During the 2012-13 season, the Takács, newly-appointed as Associate Artists at Wigmore Hall in London, will present five concerts there, including the three Britten Quartets (to celebrate the composer’s 100th birthday year), the two Brahms viola quintets with British violist Lawrence Power, and the Schubert Cello Quintet with American cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. The Schubert Quintet will be released on Hyperion Records in the fall of 2012. The Quartet will also tour in North America with pianists Marc-André Hamelin and Garrick Ohlsson, including concerts at New York’s Lincoln Center.
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 quartet of the past or present."
In 2006 the Takács Quartet made its 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 were released in the fall of 2008, and a disc featuring the Schumann Piano Quintet with Marc-André Hamelin was released in late 2009. The complete Haydn "Apponyi" Quartets, Op. 71 and 74, were released in November 2011.
The Quartet has also made sixteen recordings for the Decca label since 1988 of works by Beethoven, Bartók, Borodin, Brahms, Chausson, Dvořák, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Smetana. The ensemble’s recording of the six Bartók String Quartets received the 1998 Gramophone Award for chamber music and in 1999 was nominated for a Grammy. In addition to the Beethoven String Quartet cycle recording, the ensemble’s other Decca recordings include Dvořák’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 51 and Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 with pianist Andreas Haefliger; Schubert’s "Trout Quintet" with Mr. Haefliger, which was nominated in 2000 for a Grammy Award; string quartets by Smetana and Borodin; Schubert’s Quartet in G Major and Notturno Piano Trio with Mr. Haefliger; the three Brahms string quartets and Piano Quintet in F Minor with pianist András Schiff; Chausson’s Concerto for violin, piano and string quartet with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and Mozart’s String Quintets, K515 and 516 with violist György Pauk.
The Takács Quartet is known for innovative programming. In 2007 it performed, with Academy Award–winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Everyman, Quartet and A minor Quartet, opus 132 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 Bartók’s music. The Takács performed a music and poetry program on a fourteen city US tour with the poet Robert Pinsky. In 2010 the quartet collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Theatre and playwright David Morse in a production of Quartet, a play set in Beethoven’s later years when he was writing the A minor Quartet, Opus 132.
The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows at the University of Colorado Boulder. They have 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. They are also 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 Évian, 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. In 2001 the Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary, and in March of 2011 each member of the Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit Commander’s Cross by the President of the Republic of Hungary.