Performance Sunday, January 19, 2014 | 3 PM

Takács Quartet

Zankel Hall
The half-dozen string quartets Bartók composed over a period of 30 years have become a 20th-century musical touchstone. From the folksy touches of the Second to the avant-garde virtuosity of the Fourth, the works on this program deftly showcase the development of his compositional style throughout his prolific career. And in the hands of the Takács Quartet, “the character and personality of the composer emerges with extraordinary intensity” (The Guardian).


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


  • String Quartet No. 2
  • String Quartet No. 4
  • String Quartet No. 6

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • 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.

    In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein, and Dame Janet Baker. The ensemble also won the 2011 award for Best Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London. Based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, the Takács Quartet performs 90 concerts each year in North America and throughout Europe, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.

    Appointed in 2012 as the first-ever Associate Artists at Wigmore Hall, the Takács presents six concerts per season in London. Other European engagements include performances in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Musikverein in Vienna, and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

    In 2013-2014, the Takács returns to Japan and Singapore. The ensemble also performs Bartók's quartet cycle throughout the US, including performances at Ravinia, Princeton, the Kennedy Center, Stanford, and UC Berkeley, and in Boston and Cleveland. The quartet recently toured in North America with pianists Marc-André Hamelin and Garrick Ohlsson, including concerts at Lincoln Center.

    The Takács' award-winning recordings include the complete Beethoven cycle on the Decca label. In 2005, the late Beethoven quartets won Disc of the Year and Chamber Award from BBC Music Magazine, a Gramophone Award, and a Japanese Record Academy Award. The quartet's 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. The quartet has also made 16 recordings for the Decca label since 1988 of works by Beethoven, Bartók, Borodin, Brahms, Chausson, Dvořák, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Smetana. The ensemble's recording of Bartók's six string quartets received the 1998 Gramophone Award for chamber music and, in 1999, was nominated for a Grammy.

    The Takács is known for innovative programming. In 2007, it performed with Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at Carnegie Hall. The group regularly collaborates with Hungarian folk ensemble Muzsikás in programs that explore the folk sources of Bartók's music. The Takács also performed a music and poetry program on a 14-city US tour with poet Robert Pinsky. In 2010, the ensemble collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and David Lawrence Morse on a drama project that explored the composition of Beethoven's last quartets.

    The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows at the University of Colorado. The 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 members' commitment to teaching is enhanced by summer residencies at the Aspen Music Festival and at the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara. 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 quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982. Violinist Edward Dusinberre joined in 1993 and violist Roger Tapping in 1995. Violist Geraldine Walther replaced Mr. Tapping in 2005. In 2001, the Takács Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight's Cross of the Republic of Hungary; in March 2011, each member was awarded the Order of Merit Commander's Cross by the President of the Republic of Hungary.

    More Info


Bartók's String Quartet No. 4 (Allegretto pizzicato)
Takács Quartet

At a Glance

The six string quartets that Bartók composed at intervals between 1908 and 1939 are a microcosm of his richly imaginative and highly distinctive sound world. The three even-numbered quartets on this afternoon's program illustrate the composer's interest in a wide range of musical material, procedures, and structures. Quartet No. 2, for example, is a captivating essay in colorful sonorities and propulsive rhythms that reflects Bartók's early impressionistic style and his fascination with the folk music of his native Hungary. The five interrelated movements of the Fourth Quartet are arranged symmetrically around a central slow movement, which Bartók likened to a kernel of a nut. The last of Bartók's quartets, composed in Switzerland and Hungary just before and after the outbreak of World War II, is very much a work of its troubled time. The prevailing mood is conveyed by the Italian adjective that the composer attached to each of the four movements: mesto, or "sad." The Sixth Quartet's ritornello form, based on a recurring melody first played by the solo viola, marked a departure from the arch construction of the composer's Fourth and Fifth quartets.


Program Notes
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions II.