Program Books/Takacs Quartet
Takacs Quartet

Takacs Quartet

The world-renowned Takács Quartet is now entering its forty-ninth season. Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola), and András Fejér (cello) are excited about the 2023–24 season, which features varied projects including a new work written for them, to be premiered at this afternoon’s concert. Nokuthula Ngwenyama composed Flow, an exploration and celebration of the natural world. The work was commissioned by nine concert presenters throughout the USA. July sees the release of a new recording of works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Dvořák for Hyperion Records, while later in the season, the quartet will release works by Schubert including the composer’s final quartet in G major. In the spring of 2024 the ensemble will perform and record piano quintets by Price and Dvořák with long-time chamber music partner Marc-Andre Hamelin.

As Associate Artists at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Takács will perform four concerts featuring works by Hough, Price, Janáček, Schubert, and Beethoven. During the season, the ensemble will play at other prestigious European venues including in Berlin, Geneva, Linz, Innsbruck, Cambridge and St. Andrews. The Takács will appear at the Adams Chamber Music Festival in New Zealand. The group’s North American engagements include concerts in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Vancouver, Ann Arbor, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Portland, Cleveland, and Santa Fe, as well as at Stanford University. The ensemble will perform two Bartók cycles at San Jose State University and Middlebury College and appear for the first time at the Virginia Arts Festival, with pianist Olga Kern.

The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Fellows and Artists in Residence at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For the 2023–24 season, the quartet enters into a partnership with El Sistema Colorado, working closely with its chamber music education program in Denver. During the summer months the Takács joins the faculty at the Music Academy of the West, running an intensive quartet seminar.

In 2021, the Takács won a Presto Music Recording of the Year Award for its recordings of string quartets by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, and a Gramophone Award with pianist Garrick Ohlsson for 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 their 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.

The Takács Quartet is known for its 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. The Takács performed a program inspired by Philip Roth’s novel Everyman with Meryl Streep at Princeton in 2014, and again with her at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2015. The group first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. The ensemble has also toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky and played regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas.

In 2014, the Takács became the first string quartet to be awarded 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.

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 Takács made its North American debut tour in 1982. Members of the quartet are the grateful beneficiaries of an instrument loan by the Drake Foundation.