Emerson String Quartet

Emerson String Quartet

The Emerson String Quartet in 2014
Background information
Also known as The Emerson Quartet
Origin New York City, United States
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) String quartet
Instruments 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello
Years active 1976–present
Labels Deutsche Grammophon, New World, Sony Classical
Website www.emersonquartet.com
Members Eugene Drucker
Philip Setzer
Lawrence Dutton
Paul Watkins
Past members Guillermo Figueroa
Eric Wilson
David Finckel

The Emerson String Quartet, also known as the Emerson Quartet, is a professional string ensemblein residence at the Stony Brook University.[1] The musical ensemble was previously in residence at The Hartt School located in West Hartford, Connecticut.[2] Choosing American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson as namesake, the quartet formed at the Juilliard School as a student ensemble. They turned professional in 1976, with both of their violinists having studied under the tutelage of the renowned Oscar Shumsky, alternating as first and second violinists. When it was formed, the Emerson Quartet was one of the first with the two violinists alternating chairs.[3]

The Emerson Quartet was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2010.[4] As of May 2014, they have released more than thirty albums and won nine Grammy Awards, as well as the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize.[5][6][7]


Long-time cellist David Finckel was replaced at the end of the 2012/13 concert season by Paul Watkins.[8] Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim of the New York Times writes:

One of the characteristics of the Emerson Quartet is that its players (the violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer and the violist Lawrence Dutton in addition, now, to Mr. Watkins) all have the ability and the instruments to produce a sweet and glossy sound — but do so sparingly. Instead, they establish a chromatic scale of timbres that range from dry and tart over clean and zesty all the way to lustrous and singing. Listening to them pass tiny rhythmic motifs around the group, I was struck by how evenly calibrated these timbres were.[9]


Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: The “old” Emerson String Quartet never phoned one in. But this new group — Mr. Watkins alongside the violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, and the violist Lawrence Dutton — complemented their customary power, finesse and unanimity with a fresh, palpable vigor at Tully, and it was electrifying.[10]

Awards and recognition

Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance:

Grammy Award for Best Classical Album:

In 2002 the Quartet were the Music Directors of the Ojai Music Festival. They also played for the Oscar nominated short film, The Little Match Girl. They have also won the Avery Fisher Prize, and in 2010, were inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame, with a ceremony held in 2011.[5] In January 2015, the Quartet received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, the highest award in the classical chamber music world.[11]


See also


  1. "Emerson String Quartet". hope.edu. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  2. "History of The Hartt School". hartford.edu. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  3. "Emerson String Quartet". Carnegie Hall. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  4. "View Inductees: Emerson String Quartet". classicalwalkoffame.org. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Emerson String Quartet". smithsonianassociates.org. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  6. Huizenga, Tom. "The Emerson Quartet At (Le) Poisson Rouge". NPR.org. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  7. Dischel, Robert S. (2000). Converging Lines: The Extraordinary Story of the Emerson String Quartet's First 25 Years. London: Risk Waters Group. ISBN 1-899332-68-5.
  8. "Emerson String Quartet Announces Departure Of Cellist David Finckel | Emerson String Quartet". Emersonquartet.com. February 14, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  9. da Fonseca-Wollheim, Corinna (August 22, 2013). "The Emerson Quartet Plays the Mostly Mozart Festival". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  10. Smith, Steve (March 25, 2014). "Emerson String Quartet Plays Shostakovich at Tully Hall". NY Times. New York Times. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  11. "Emerson String Quartet Set to Receive Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award". Emerson String Quartet. Retrieved January 16, 2015.

External links

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