Emerson String Quartet
The Emerson String Quartet has an unparalleled list of achievements over the past three
decades, including more than 30 acclaimed recordings, nine Grammy Awards (including two for
Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize,
Musical America's Ensemble of the Year, and collaborations with many of the
greatest artists of our time.
The arrival of Paul Watkins in 2013 has had a profound effect on the Emerson String
Quartet. A distinguished soloist, award-winning conductor, and devoted chamber musician,
Mr. Watkins joined the ensemble in its 37th season, and his dedication and enthusiasm have
infused the quartet with a warm, rich tone and a palpable joy in the collaborative process.
The reconfigured group has been greeted with impressive accolades.
The quartet's summer season began with engagements in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and a pair
of concerts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following a tour of Japan, the quartet performed at
the Ravinia, Tanglewood, Chamber Music Northwest, Aspen, Domaine Forget, Toronto, Austin,
Norfolk, Cape Cod, and Mostly Mozart festivals. In the 2014-2015 season, in addition to the
members' individual commitments, the quartet performs more than 80 concerts on both the
East and West coasts and throughout North America. In October, Mr. Watkins performs with
the Emerson String Quartet for the first time at Carnegie Hall. In Europe, the quartet
performs in Austria, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. It
continues its series at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, for its 35th season,
and in May 2015, it will be presented by colleagues David Finckel and Wu Han at Alice Tully
Hall for the two final season concerts with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Guest artists Colin Carr and Paul Neubauer join the quartet in a program that includes the
New York premiere of Lowell Liebermann's String Quartet No. 5, commissioned by a consortium
of presenters through Music Accord.
As an exclusive artist for Sony Classical, the Emerson String Quartet recently released
Journeys, its second CD on that label, featuring Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de
Florence and Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht. Future recordings are planned with
Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson String Quartet was one of the first
quartets formed with two violinists that alternate in the first chair position. In 2002,
the quartet began to stand for most of its concerts, with the cellist seated on a riser.
The quartet took its name from American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, and is
quartet-in-residence at Stony Brook University. In January 2015, the quartet will receive
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.