|HAYDN||String Quartet No. 1, op. 74|
|SHOSTAKOVICH||String Quartet No. 3|
|SCHUBERT||Death and the Maiden, D810|
Recognized as one of the world's great ensembles, the Takács Quartet plays with a unique blend of drama, warmth and humour, combining four distinct musical personalities to bring fresh insights to the string quartet repertoire.
The Takács became the first string quartet to win the Wigmore Hall Medal on May 10, 2014. The Medal, inaugurated in 2007, recognizes major international artists who have a strong association with the Hall. Recipients so far include Andras Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Menachem Pressler and Dame Felicity Lott. Appointed in 2012 as the first-ever Associate Artists at Wigmore, the Quartet presents six concerts every season there. Other European engagements in 2014-2015 include the Edinburgh and Bath Festivals, the Louvre in Paris, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, and in Geneva, Florence, Cremona and Budapest.
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.
In 2014-2015, the Quartet performs throughout North America, returning to the Ravinia Festival and to Lincoln Center for two programs—one with guest violist Lawrence Power and the other with pianist Joyce Yang, and performs with pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin at UC Berkeley, University of Connecticut and at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. They also return after many years to Santiago, Chile, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Meryl Streep performed Philip Roth's "Everyman" program with the Takács at Princeton University on September 19, 2014. The program was conceived in close collaboration with Philip Roth. The Quartet is known for such innovative programming. They first performed "Everyman" at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. They have toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, collaborate regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas, and in 2010 they collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and David Lawrence Morse on a drama project that explored the composition of Beethoven's last quartets.
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, Album of the Year at the Brit Awards 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.
Their collaboration with Hyperion Records in 2006 started with a recording of Schubert's Death and the Maiden and Rosamunde quartets. A disc featuring Brahms' Piano Quintet with Stephen Hough was released to great acclaim in November 2007 and was subsequently nominated for a Grammy. Other recordings for Hyperion include Brahms' Quartets Op. 51 and Op. 67; a disc featuring the Schumann Piano Quintet with Marc-Andre Hamelin; the complete Haydn Apponyi Quartets, Op. 71 and 74; the Schubert Quintet CD with Ralph Kirshbaum; the three Britten Quartets and the Brahms Viola Quintets with Lawrence Power, viola.
Upcoming Hyperion recordings include the two Janacek Quartets and Smetana's From My Life, the Debussy Quartet and the Franck Piano Quintet with Marc-Andre Hamelin, and Dvorak's Op. 105 Quartet and his Viola Quintet Op. 97 with Lawrence Power, viola.
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 Gyorgy Pauk, viola.
The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows at the University of Colorado Boulder. The 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. They are also Visiting Fellows 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. In 2001 the ensemble was awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight's Cross of the Republic of Hungary, and in March 2011 each member of the Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit Commander's Cross by the President of the Republic of Hungary.
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