Classical Music

The Emerson String Quartet Announces its Farewell Season

After 47 years together, the quartet will disband in October 2023


The Emerson Quartet has announced the its final, farewell season — which will bring a period spanning half a century to a close. Comprising violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violist Lawrence Dutton, and cellist Paul Watkins, the quartet confirmed in 2021 that 2023 would be their final year.

The season includes extensive touring of both the United States and Europe, as well as a recording project with soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan, and the filming of a documentary exploring the group’s artistic impact and legacy.

“Looking back on more than four decades of life in the Emerson String Quartet, it is with a mixture of pride and nostalgia that we anticipate our retirement in late October 2023,” the quartet told The Violin Channel. “In addition to the great music we’ve been privileged to share with audiences and with each other, it is the opportunity to connect with close friends that has meant the most to us over the years. Each city on our itineraries has had its own unique associations for us, giving atmosphere, texture and the all-important personal dimension to our recollections of the passing seasons.

“Presenters, managers, colleagues and audience members have all played important roles in our experience,” they continued. “Now, as we contemplate our future careers, which will afford us the opportunity to continue performing as individuals and to pass the fruits of our experience on to younger generations of chamber players, we also wish to express our gratitude to all the instrumentalists, singers, composers, actors and directors with whom we have been honored to collaborate.”

The touring kicks off in September with a range of West Coast locations, followed by the East Coast and Canada. In Europe, stops will include Vienna’s Musikverein, London’s South Bank Centre, the Luxembourg Philharmonie, and the Auditorio y Palacio de Congresos de Castellón in Spain. A second European tour in the spring will include performances in Copenhagen, Linz, and Prague as well as at several venues in Spain and Switzerland.

You can read the full list of concert dates here.

After their retirement, all members of the quartet plan to continue to perform and teach individually. As a group, they will coach and mentor young ensembles through the Emerson String Quartet Institute at Stony Brook University, alongside former cellist David Finckel, who played with the quartet for 34 years.

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