The Emerson String Quartet stands alone in the history of string quartets with an unparalleled list of achievements over three decades: more than thirty acclaimed recordings since 1987, nine Grammy® Awards (including two for Best Classical Album, an unprecedented honor for a chamber music group), three Gramophone Awards, the coveted Avery Fisher Prize and cycles of the complete Beethoven, Bartók, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich string quartets in the world’s musical capitals, from New York to London and Vienna. The Quartet has collaborated in concerts and on recordings with some of the greatest artists of our time. After 35 years of extensive touring and recording, the Emerson Quartet continues to perform with the same benchmark integrity, energy and commitment that it has demonstrated since it was formed in 1976.
In March 2011, Sony Classical announced an exclusive agreement with the Emerson String Quartet. The Quartet's debut album for the label, Mozart's Prussian Quartets K. 575, K. 589 and K. 590, will be released in November 2011 to coincide with a series of concerts at Wigmore Hall in London and Alice Tully Hall in New York City. In 2011-2012, its 35th season as an ensemble, the Emerson performs extensively throughout North America and Europe, with concerts in Boston, Vancouver, Denver, Philadelphia, Washington DC, San Diego, Houston and Ann Arbor and on tours taking them to Germany, Denmark, Slovenia, Austria, England, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and South Korea. The Emerson continues its residency at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, now in its 32nd season.
The Emerson is Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University, where, in addition to a concert series, teaching and chamber music coaching throughout the academic year, it has conducted intensive string quartet workshops in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The Quartet has also overseen three Professional Training Workshops at Carnegie’s Weill Music Institute. In the 2006-2007 season, Carnegie Hall invited the Emerson to present its own Perspectives series, a nine-concert exploration titled Beethoven in Context, held in Isaac Stern Auditorium. No other quartet has had the opportunity to present such an expansive series at Carnegie. In 2000, the Emerson was named “ensemble of the Year” by Musical America, and in March 2004 became the 18th recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize – another first for a chamber ensemble.
Formed in 1976, the Emerson String Quartet took its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer alternate in the first chair position and are joined by violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist David Finckel. Since January 2002, Messrs. Drucker, Setzer and Dutton have stood for their performances; Mr. Finckel sits on a podium. The Quartet is based in New York City.