The Takács Quartet, now in its 47th year, is excited to bring to fruition several innovative projects in 2021–22. The first part of the season saw the world premiere of a new quartet written for the ensemble by Stephen Hough, Les Six Rencontres (included on today’s program). The Takács will record this extraordinary work for Hyperion Records, in combination with quartets by Ravel and Dutilleux. With bandoneon/accordion virtuoso Julien Labro, the musicians will also perform throughout the US new works composed for them by Clarice Assad and Bryce Dessner.
During the last year, the Takács marked the arrival of its newest member, Grammy-award-winning violist Richard O’Neill, by making two recordings for Hyperion: quartets by Fanny Hensel Mendelssohn and Felix Mendelssohn in November 2021 will be followed by Haydn’s Opp. 42, 77, and 103 in May 2022.
In 2021–22, the Takács Quartet continues its role as Associate Artists at London’s Wigmore Hall, performing four concerts there this season. In addition to many concerts in the UK, the ensemble will play at prestigious European venues including the Paris Philharmonie, Berlin Konzerthaus, and Teatro Della Pergola, Florence. The Takács will perform throughout North America, including concerts in New York, Boston, Washington (DC), Princeton, Ann Arbor, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Portland.
In June 2020 the Takács Quartet was featured in the BBC television series Being Beethoven. The ensemble’s 2019 CD for Hyperion of piano quintets by Amy Beach and Elgar, with pianist Garrick Ohlsson, won a Presto Classical Recording of the Year award.
In 2014, the Takács became the first string quartet to receive the Wigmore Hall Medal. The award, inaugurated in 2007, recognizes major international artists who have a strong association with the hall. Past recipients include András Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Menahem Pressler, and Dame Felicity Lott. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the first string quartet to be inducted into its 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.
The Takács Quartet is known for innovative programming. The ensemble 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 musicians first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Takács records for Hyperion Records, and their releases for that label include string quartets by Haydn, Schubert, Janáček, Smetana, Debussy, and Britten, as well as piano quintets by César Franck and Shostakovich (with Marc-André Hamelin), Amy Beach, and Elgar (with Garrick Ohlsson), 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 o the quartet’s website.
Based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, the members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows. 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. Through the university, two of the quartet’s members benefit from the generous loan of instruments from the Drake Instrument Foundation. The members of the Takács are also on the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where they run an intensive summer string quartet seminar, and they are Visiting Fellows at the Guildhall School of Music 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. 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. In 2001, the members of the Takács Quartet were awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight ’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary, and in March 2011 the Order of Merit Commander’s Cross by the President of the Republic of Hungary.