The Takács Quartet
Edward Dusinberre, violin Károly Schranz, violin
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Recognized as one of the world’s premiere string quartets, the Takács Quartet plays with a virtuosic technique, intense immediacy and consistently burnished tone. The ensemble explores its repertoire with intellectual curiosity and passion, creating performances that are probing, revealing and constantly engaging. The Quartet has been described as having “warmth, exuberance, buoyancy, a teasing subtlety, unanimity of purpose without compromising the individual personalities of each performer, a blossoming tone, and above all the instinct to play from inside the music…” The Takács Quartet is based in Boulder, Colorado, where it has been in residence at the University of Colorado since 1983.
Now entering its thirtieth season, the Takács Quartet has performed repertoire ranging from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert to Bartok, Britten, Dutilleux, Janacek and Sheng in virtually every music capital in North America, Europe, Australia and Japan, as well as at prestigious festivals, including Aspen, Berlin, Cheltenham, City of London, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Salzburg, Schleswig Holstein and Tanglewood. The ensemble is also known for its award-winning recordings on the Decca label, including its 2-CD set of Beethoven’s three “Rasumovsky” String Quartets, Op. 59 and Quartet in E flat Major, Op. 74, “Harp”, which won the Grammy Award and the Gramophone Award for Best Chamber Performance in 2002. The album is the first installment of the Takács Quartet’s recordings of the complete Beethoven Quartet cycle in three sets, the second of which (the Early Quartets, Op. 19) was released in January 2004. The Quartet’s third and final CD of the late quartets plus Op. 95 and the Grosse Fugue, which completes the cycle, is scheduled for release in 2005. Of their performances and recordings of these Quartets, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “The Takács might play this repertoire better than any quartet of the past or present.”
Highlights of the Takács Quartet’s 2004 -2005 season include performances of the complete Beethoven String Quartet cycle in six concerts at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York, as well as the completion of its three-year cycle of performances of the quartets presented by The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall’s Reinberger Chamber Hall. The Quartet also performs the entire Bartok String Quartet cycle in Ann Arbor, Pittsburgh and Tucson, and give concerts of works ranging from Haydn, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn to Bartok and Borodin in Vancouver, Montreal, Washington DC, Atlanta, Houston, Richmond, and Princeton, NJ, among other cities in North America. The Quartet will tour Australia and New Zealand in November 2004, and in May 2005 the Quartet returns to London’s Wigmore Hall and performs in Lisbon, Paris, Venice and Milan, among other cities in Europe.
Recently, notable Takács Quartet appearances worldwide have included performances of the Beethoven cycle in Cleveland, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Sydney; the Bartok cycle in Cleveland, London, Madrid, Seville, Valencia, New York, and Tokyo; the Brahms cycle in London; the Schubert cycle in London, Lisbon and cities in Italy, the Netherlands and Spain; concerts in Japan; the world premiere performance of Bright Sheng’s Quartet No. 3; the world premiere of Su Lian Tan’s Life in Wayang; a fourteen-city U.S. tour with the thirty-ninth Poet Laureate of the United States, Robert Pinsky; and a collaboration with the Hungarian folk ensemble Muzsikas in a series of joint concerts exploring the connections between traditional Hungarian folk melodies and the works of Bartok and Kodaly.
Signed to an exclusive contract with Decca/London in 1988, the Takács Quartet has made sixteen recordings for the label of works by Beethoven, Bartok, Borodin, Brahms, Chausson, Dvorak, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Smetana. The ensemble’s recording of the six Bartok String Quartets received the 1998 Gramophone Award for chamber music and, in 1999, was nominated for a Grammy. In addition to the Beethoven String Quartet cycle recording, the ensemble’s other Decca recordings include Dvorak’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 51 and Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 with pianist Andreas Haefliger; Schubert’s Trout Quintet with Mr. Haefliger, which was nominated in 2000 for a Grammy Award; string quartets by Smetana and Borodin; Schubert’s Quartet in G Major and Notturno Piano Trio with Mr. Haefliger; the three Brahms string quartets and Piano Quintet in F Minor with pianist András Schiff; Chausson’s Concerto for violin, piano and string quartet with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and Mozart’s String Quintets, K515 and 516 with Gyorgy Pauk, viola.
The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor 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 has 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 the Quartet in 1993 and violist Roger Tapping in 1995. Of the original ensemble, violinist Károly Schranz and cellist András Fejér remain. In addition to its residency at the University of Colorado, the ensemble is also a Resident Quartet at the Aspen Music Festival and School, its members are Visiting Fellows at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and, beginning with the 2005-2006 season, will become Associate Artists of the South Bank Center in London. In 2001, The Takács Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary.
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