As the classical community begins to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in the 2019-2020 season, the world-renowned Emerson String Quartet kicks off the opening of The Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival on Saturday, June 15, with an unforgettable journey of the complete Beethoven Cycle.
Presenting six concerts in one week, the cycle "provides a musical biography of Beethoven’s life, highlighting milestones in his musical development," Emerson violinist Eugene Drucker says.
Although the Emerson String Quartet has completed the Beethoven Cycle many times during the past four decades, their performance at The Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival will be their debut with their newest member, cellist Paul Watkins.
The nine-time GRAMMY Award-winning Quartet has firmly established its authority in interpreting Beethoven’s string quartets since its first Beethoven Cycle performed in 1980 through its complete recording of his quartets on Deutsche Grammophon which won a 1998 GRAMMY Award.
The Cycle will begin at 6pm June 15 in Seligman Performing Arts Center, Beverly Hills, Michigan. The rest of the performances will be on June 16, 18, 19, 22, and 23 at Kirk in the Hills in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Single tickets range from $12 to $42.
On April 12, Deutsche Grammophon released the Quartet’s latest album, The New York Concert: Evgeny Kissin and Emerson String Quartet. This debut collaborative album with pianist Evgeny Kissin, featuring piano quartets of Mozart and Fauré and piano quintets of Dvořák and Shostakovich (encore), is a live recording of their sold-out concertat Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium last May, where “the players all but lifted the lid off the hall” (New York Times).
The Emerson’s extensive recordings range from Bach to Harbison, including the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bartok, Webern and Shostakovich, as well as multi-CD sets of the major works of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Dvorak. The ensemble has also recorded music by Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Debussy, Ravel, Barber and Ives.
About the Quartet
The Emerson String Quartet has amassed an unparalleled list of achievements over four decades: more than 30 acclaimed recordings, nine Grammys® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s "Ensemble of the Year". Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson String Quartet, which took its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, is Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. In January 2015, the Quartet received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, Chamber Music America’s highest honor, in recognition of its significant and lasting contribution to the chamber music field.
This season’s highlights included subsequent performances of Shostakovich and The Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy, the theatrical production co-created by the acclaimed theater director James Glossman and the Quartet’s violinist, Philip Setzer. The music/theater hybrid, co-commissioned by the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Princeton University and Tanglewood Music Festival, has been presented at the Ravinia Music Festival, Wolf Trap, and in Seoul, South Korea. Recently, the quartet reprised this work at Stony Brook University and will bring the production to the Orange County Performing Arts Center on May 14. In a bold intersection of chamber music and theater starring David Strathairn/Len Cariou and Jay O. Sanders/Sean Astin with the Emerson String Quartet, the audiences witness the trials of Dmitri Shostakovich’s 40-year obsessive quest to create an opera based on Anton Chekhov’s mystical tale: The Black Monk.
Learn more about The Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival on its website.
Learn more about the Emerson String Quartet on its website.