Performance Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 3 PM

Emerson String Quartet
Yefim Bronfman

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
For more than 40 years, the Emerson String Quartet has held an honored place in the pantheon of great ensembles. Praised for performances that are "technically resourceful, musically insightful, cohesive, full of character, and always interesting" (The New York Times), the Emerson performs two 20th-century string quartet masterpieces by Berg and Ravel. Yefim Bronfman, “a marvel of digital dexterity, warmly romantic sentiment, and jaw-dropping bravura” (Chicago Tribune), joins the Emerson for Brahms’s dramatic and propulsive Piano Quintet.


  • Emerson String Quartet
    ·· Eugene Drucker, Violin
    ·· Philip Setzer, Violin
    ·· Lawrence Dutton, Viola
    ·· Paul Watkins, Cello
  • Yefim Bronfman, Piano


  • RAVEL String Quartet in F Major
  • BERG String Quartet, Op. 3
  • BRAHMS Piano Quintet

Event Duration

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


RAVEL String Quartet in F Major, Op.10 (Assez vif – très rythmé)
Emerson String Quartet

At a Glance

MAUICE RAVEL  String Quartet in F Major

This youthful masterpiece signaled Ravel’s emergence as Debussy’s peer and heir apparent. The composer’s first and only string quartet elicited largely favorable comparisons to Debussy’s celebrated String Quartet in G Minor. Recurring intervals, melodic shapes, textures, and sonorities give the four movements a powerful sense of organic unity.

ALBAN BERG  String Quartet, Op. 3

Composed in 1910 but not performed in public until 1923, Berg’s first quartet was a turning point in his career. Although he acknowledged how much he had learned from his teacher, Arnold Schoenberg, he credited his wife with being the primary inspiration for his Op. 3 String Quartet. In a letter Berg wrote to her after a performance of the work in Salzburg in 1923, he declared that it was she “to whom the quartet belongs and who brought it into being.”

JOHANNES BRAHMS  Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34

Originally conceived as a string quintet and later adapted for two pianos, Brahms’s masterpiece represents a near-perfect marriage of keyboard and strings. Only after Clara Schumann observed that the music was “so full of ideas” that a full orchestra was needed to do it justice did Brahms recast it as a piano quintet. In this form, the musicologist Sir Donald Francis Tovey wrote, “the rhythmic incisiveness of the piano is happily combined with the singing powers of the bowed instruments.”

Program Notes
This performance is part of Great Artists II.