The world-renowned Takács Quartet is now in its 48th season. Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola), and András Fejér (cello) are excited about the 2022–23 season, which began with a tour of Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, and includes the release of two new CDs for Hyperion Records. A disc of Haydn’s Opp. 42, 77, and 103 is followed by the first recording of an extraordinary new work written for the quartet by Stephen Hough, Les Six Rencontres (heard here in Hertz Hall last February, in its Bay Area premiere), presented with quartets by Ravel and Dutilleux. As Associate Artists at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Takács will perform four concerts there. In addition to programs featuring Beethoven, Schubert and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, one concert consists of works by Britten, Bartók, and Dvořák that highlight the same themes of displacement and return explored in Edward Dusinberre’s new book Distant Melodies: Music in Search of Home. The book is published this fall by Faber and the University of Chicago Press. The quartet will perform the same program at several venues in the United States, complemented by book talks. Also this season, the quartet will continue its fruitful partnership with pianist Jeremy Denk, performing on several North American series.
Throughout 2022 and 2023 the ensemble will play at prestigious European venues including the Edinburgh and Schwetzingen festivals, Madrid’s Auditorio de Música, Bilbao’s Philharmonic Society, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and the Bath Mozartfest. The group’s North American engagements include concerts in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tucson, and Portland, and the Beethoven Center at San Jose State University.
The Takács Quartet is known for innovative programming. In 2021–22, the ensemble partnered with bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro to premiere new works by Clarice Assad and Bryce Dessner, commissioned by Music Accord. In 2014, the Takács performed a program inspired by Philip Roth’s novel Everyman with Meryl Streep at Princeton, and the artists repeated the program at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2015. It first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. The quartet has toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, and played regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas.
The Takács records for Hyperion Records, recently winning awards for its recordings of string quartets by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, and—with pianist Garrick Ohlsson—piano quintets by Amy Beach and Elgar. Other releases for Hyperion feature works by Haydn, Schubert, Janáček, Smetana, Debussy, and Britten, as well as piano quintets by César Franck and Shostakovich (with Marc-André Hamelin), and viola quintets by Brahms and Dvořák (with Lawrence Power). For its CDs on the Decca/London label, the quartet has won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy Award, three Japanese Record Academy Awards, Disc of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Ensemble Album of the Year at the Classical Brits. Full details of all recordings can be found in the Recordings section of the quartet’s website.
In 2014 the Takács became the first string quartet to receive the Wigmore Hall Medal. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the first string quartet to be inducted into its Hall of Fame. 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 members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows and the grateful beneficiaries of an instrument loan by the Drake Foundation. The members of the ensemble are on the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where they run a summer string quartet seminar, and Visiting Fellows at the Guildhall School of Music, 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. The group 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.