The Emerson String Quartet: The Bartók Quartets

A Guide for Performers & Music Lovers

Explore the six string quartets of Bela Bartók through the vision of the Emerson String Quartet in this amalgamation of video footage, written commentary, and animated score. Much of the video was taken during a workshop given by the Emerson members in 2003 and has been supplemented with additional video of Emerson members and others speaking about the quartets.

This site is intended for performers who are preparing these pieces as well as listeners and concertgoers who wish to learn more about the Bartók quartets and about the many musical decisions that must be made in order to perform these demanding works.

About the Emerson Quartet and the Bartók String Quartets

The six string quartets of Béla Bartók have been central to the repertoire of the Emerson String Quartet for over 25 years. Their first performance of the complete cycle came early in their careers in 1979. Their 1988 recording of the cycle won a Grammy Award that year. Recently they gave marathon performances of all six quartets in one concert at Alice Tully Hall and at the Aspen Music Festival. In this website they share publicly the accumulated insights of their career performing and living with the quartets.