Emanuel Ax, Piano
·· Joel Link, Violin
·· Bryan Lee, Violin
·· Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, Viola
·· Camden Shaw, Cello
Emanuel Ax, Piano
BRITTEN String Quartet No. 1 in D Major
BRAHMS String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Pre-Concert TalkPre-concert talk at 6:30 PM: Members of the Dover Quartet and pianist Emanuel Ax in conversation with Ara Guzelimian, Provost and Dean, The Juilliard School.
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for young artists established by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony B. Evnin and the A.E. Charitable Foundation.
In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.
At a Glance
BRITTEN String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25
Composed in 1941 at the tail 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, which would bear fruit four years later in his operatic tragedy Peter Grimes. Although the composer would be increasingly preoccupied with opera over the next three decades, he found time to write two more quartets.
BRAHMS String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major, Op. 67
The cheerful Quartet in B-flat Major was Brahms’s personal favorite of the “useless pieces” he wrote in the summer of 1875 while staying with a friend in an idyllic setting outside Heidelberg. A contemporary critic compared it favorably to the knotty Op. 51 quartets, observing that Brahms “this time seems to have decided to take the sunlit meadow-path.”
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44
The ever-popular Piano Quintet in E-flat Major was a highlight of Schumann’s “chamber music year” of 1842, a hugely productive period that saw the composition of no fewer than three string quartets and the Op. 47 Piano Quartet. In all five pieces, Schumann distanced himself from the literary models that had inspired much of his earlier work, concentrating instead on structural clarity and the craft of composition.
The phenomenal Dover Quartet catapulted to international stardom following a stunning sweep of the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, where it won every prize. Named winner of the Cleveland Quartet Award and honored with the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Dover Quartet has become one of the most in-demand ensembles in the world. The Dover is quartet-in-residence at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, Chamber Music Northwest, Artosphere Festival, Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, and Peoples’ Symphony Concerts in New York, and continues as first-ever quartet-in-residence at the Kennedy Center.
In 2019–2020, the Dover Quartet opens the season for Chamber Music Houston, Duke Performances, and Spivey Hall; returns to the Savannah Music Festival; returns to Wigmore Hall both in a quartet performance and with longtime friend Edgar Meyer; and gives a full-length performance as part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s celebration of the Guarneri Quartet. The Dover’s Beethoven project continues with a half-cycle at Union College and culminates in the release of the quartet’s complete Beethoven cycle on Cedille Records in 2020. The season also includes collaborations with Inon Barnatan, Ray Chen, the Escher String Quartet, Davóne Tines, and Bridget Kibbey.
In 2018–2019, the quartet performed more than 100 concerts across North America, including performances at the Kennedy Center, San Francisco Performances, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Spivey Hall, Celebrity Series of Boston, Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and Carnegie Hall. In addition, the season featured tours of Hong Kong, Europe, and Australia; collaborations with Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnatan, Peter Serkin, Anthony McGill, and Roomful of Teeth; and premieres of new works by Caroline Shaw and Matan Porat. The quartet was thrilled to be invited by maverick filmmaker and cultural icon David Lynch to be featured at his Festival of Disruption in Los Angeles.
Joel Link plays a violin by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (Paris, ca. 1857), on loan from Desirée Ruhstrat. Bryan Lee plays a violin by Riccardo Antoniazzi (Milan, 1904). Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt plays the “Kroyt” viola by Michele Deconet (Venice, 1780), generously on loan from the grandson of Boris Kroyt of the Budapest String Quartet. Camden Shaw plays a cello by Frank Ravatin (France, 2010).
Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. He made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975, he won the Michaels Award of the Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize.
Highlights of the 2019–2020 season include a tour of European summer festivals with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and longtime collaborative partner Bernard Haitink; a tour of Asia with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle; and concerts in the US with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Lahav Shani, in addition to three concerts with regular partners Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall in March 2020. Performances as part of Carnegie Hall’s Beethoven Celebration culminate in a solo recital in May, preceded by recitals in Madison, Santa Barbara, Orange County, Washington, Las Vegas, and Colorado Springs. Mr. Ax can be heard with orchestras in Houston, Baltimore, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. In Europe and abroad, he can be heard with orchestras in London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Rome, Zurich, Rotterdam, and Tel Aviv.
Mr. Ax has been an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987. He received Grammy Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas, and made a series of Grammy-winning recordings of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano with Mr. Ma. In the 2004–2005 season, Mr. Ax contributed to an International Emmy Award–winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust, which aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. His recording Variations received the ECHO Klassik award for Solo Recording of the Year in 2013.
Mr. Ax is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds honorary doctorates in music from Skidmore College, Yale University, and Columbia University. For more information about Mr. Ax’s career, visit emanuelax.com.