Performance Saturday, January 18, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Takács Quartet

Zankel Hall
Bartók has been a staple of the Takács Quartet’s repertory for decades, with the group's affinity for his music evidenced in each breathtaking performance. Having been hailed for uniquely capturing all of the textural elements of the composer's string quartets, “from the explosively energetic to the grimly sardonic, incorporated into a single, magnificent musical span” (The Guardian), the revered quartet embarks on a cycle of these works with this program of odd numbered quartets from the early, middle, and late periods of Bartók’s canon.


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


  • String Quartet No. 1
  • String Quartet No. 3
  • String Quartet No. 5

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.

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Bartók's String Quartet No. 3 (Moderato)
Takács Quartet

At a Glance

Like Beethoven and Shostakovich, Bartók repeatedly turned to the string quartet as a vehicle for expressing his deepest and most personal musical thoughts. The Hungarian composer's unrequited love for violinist Stefi Geyer helped inspire the first of his six quartets—one of several works that feature her four-note musical "signature." Quartet No. 3—composed in the summer of 1927 and first performed in Philadelphia 18 months later—was influenced by the imaginatively colored sound world of Alban Berg's Lyric Suite. What Theodor Adorno called the quartet's "iron concentration" and "wholly original tectonics" are reflected in its highly compressed single-movement form. Bartók's Fifth Quartet is also associated with the United States: Commissioned by the American arts patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, it was premiered in Washington, DC, in 1935. Laid out in five movements, three predominantly fast and two slow, the work is notable for its rhythmic verve, richly imaginative tonal effects, and archlike construction.
Program Notes


Carnegie Hall's Director of Artistic Planning Jeremy Geffen introduces BartókString Quartet No. 1, which reveals the young composer's indebtedness to Strauss, Debussy, Wagner, and Beethoven, while displaying the simplicity he derived from his study of Hungarian folk music.

Funding for the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast series is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions I.

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