Performance Friday, April 13, 2012 | 7:30 PM

Takács Quartet

Zankel Hall
The “consistently invigorating” (The New York Times) Takács Quartet is a group “at the peak of its profession” (The Boston Globe). It begins a two-night stay at Carnegie Hall with works by three giants of 20th-century music, including Janácek, who drew inspiration from the Tolstoy story for his “Kreutzer Sonata,” and Britten, who wrote his inaugural string quartet when he was only 17.


  • Takács Quartet
    ·· Edward Dusinberre, Violin
    ·· Károly Schranz, Violin
    ·· Geraldine Walther, Viola
    ·· András Fejér, Cello


  • JANÁCEK String Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata"
  • BRITTEN String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25
  • DEBUSSY String Quartet in G Minor


  • Takács Quartet

    Recognized as one of the world's great ensembles, the Takács Quartet plays with a unique blend of drama, warmth, and humor, combining four distinct musical personalities to bring fresh insights to the string quartet repertoire.

    Winner of the 2011 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber Music and Song, the Takács Quartet is based in Boulder at the University of Colorado. The 2011-2012 season focuses on the music of Janáček, Britten, Debussy, and Ravel, with performances in major cities across the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. This season also features collaborations with pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Joyce Yang, and cellist Ralph Kirshbaum.

    The quartet's award-winning recordings include the complete Beethoven cycle on the Decca label. In 2005, the late Beethoven quartets won Disc of the Year from BBC Music Magazine, a Gramophone Award, and a Japanese Record Academy Award. The Takács' recordings of the early and middle Beethoven quartets collected a Grammy, another Gramophone Award, a Chamber Music America Award, and two additional awards from the Japanese Recording Academy.

    In 2006, the Takács Quartet made its first recording for Hyperion Records-Schubert's D. 804 and D. 810. A disc that featured Brahms's piano quintet with Stephen Hough was released to great acclaim in November 2007 and was subsequently nominated for a Grammy. A recording of Brahms's Op. 51 and Op. 67 quartets was released in the fall of 2008, and a disc that featured Schumann's Piano Quintet with Marc-André Hamelin was released in late 2009. The quartet's recording of the Haydn "Apponyi" Quartets was released in November 2011.

    The Takács Quartet is known for its innovative programming. In 2007, it performed Everyman  with Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at Carnegie Hall, inspired by the Philip Roth novel. The group collaborates regularly with the Hungarian folk ensemble Muzsikás, performing a program that explores the folk sources of Bartók's music. In 2010, the quartet collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and playwright David Morse in a production of Quartet, a play set in Beethoven's later years when he was writing the A-Minor Quartet, Op. 132.

    At the University of Colorado, the Takács 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. The quartet's commitment to teaching is enhanced by summer residencies at the Aspen Festival and at the Music Academy of the West. The Takács is also a visiting quartet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

    The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gábor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gábor 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 Takács made its North American debut tour in 1982. Violinist Edward Dusinberre joined the quartet in 1993 and violist Roger Tapping in 1995. Violist Geraldine Walther replaced Mr. Tapping in 2005. In 2001, the Takács Quartet was awarded the Knight's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary; in March 2011, each quartet member was awarded the Commander's Cross Order of Merit by the president of the Republic of Hungary.

    More Info


Debussy Quartet In G Minor For Strings (Assez Vif Et Bien Rhythmé)
Juilliard String Quartet

At a Glance

LEOŠ JANÁČEK  String Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata"

Autobiographical elements play a conspicuous role in Janáček's two string quartets, both dating from the last five years of his life. Trapped in an unhappy marriage like the heroine of Tolstoy's Kreutzer Sonata, the Czech composer sought release in an intense epistolary romance with a younger woman. Yet the First Quartet, inspired by Tolstoy's novella, offers no such consolation: A work of almost unrelenting bleakness, it is among Janáček's most disturbing and deeply felt masterpieces. 

BENJAMIN BRITTEN  String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25

Composed in 1941 at the end of his three-year sojourn in the US and Canada, Britten's first mature string quartet coincided with his discovery of the poetry of George Crabbe. This discovery would eventually lead to his operatic tragedy Peter Grimes four years later.

CLAUDE DEBUSSY  String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10

Debussy's first and only string quartet didn't make much of a splash when it first premiered in Paris. Although a handful of listeners recognized the seeds of the composer's future greatness, many more seem to have been nonplused by his unorthodox treatment of harmony and form; the work's quasi-cyclical structure, in particular, was ahead of its time. Only later did Debussy's quartet take its place as one of the glories of the chamber music literature.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions I.

Part of