Tokyo String Quartet

Biography

Active: 1969 - ; Tokyo, Japan
Shortly after its inception, the Tokyo Quartet became one of the most prominent string quartets in the world; since then, they have continued to uphold their reputation for insightful interpretations and a beautiful tonal blend. The quartet's original members -- Koichiro Harada (first violin), Yoshiko Nakura (second violin), Kazuhide Isomura (viola), and Sadao Harada (cello) -- all attened the Toho Gakuen (School of Music) during the 1960s, Read more coming under the tutelage of the legendarily skilled and tyrannical pedagogue Hideo Saito. Another influence on the Tokyo's early development -- perhaps even more important -- was the Julliard Quartet, which gave a series of workshops at Nikko during 1966; Harada, Isomura and Harada were all in attendance. It was, in fact, the members of the Julliard Quartet who pointed out to the young players that there was then no permanent quartet in Japan, and that they might be the right musicians to form one. This led to arrangements for the group to study at the Julliard School of Music; there the Tokyo Quartet was born.

The quartet was at first a casual endeavor -- a "study quartet" -- but it got serious quickly. In 1970, the Tokyo won the Coleman String Quartet Competition (judged by the members of the Amadeus Quartet), the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and the Munich International Chamber Music Competition. From Munich, the quartet received a guarantee of a hundred concerts and an instant contract with Deutsche Grammophon; soon, the quartet had concertized around the world and won a Grand Prix du Disque. In 1974 the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. lent them a group of priceless Amati instruments; they used these in concert until 1988.

Also in 1974, Kikuei Ikeda replaced Nakura as second violinist, making the quartet all-male; the quartet said at the time that Nakura wished to pursue a solo career, but in a 1975 interview with the Associated Press, Julliard's Robert Mann said, "They always had it in mind to get rid of their girl player." In 1981 there was a further -- and more surprising -- shift in personnel when the departing Koichiro Harada was replaced with the group's first non-Japanese member, the Canadian-English-Armenian violinist Peter Oundjian. The quartet's playing, if anything, improved with Oundjian as leader; interpretations were freer and more passionate, while the playing maintained its beautiful blend. This happy association ended in 1996 when a hand injury prompted Oundjian's replacement -- temporarily at first by the Orford String Quartet's first violinist, Andrew Dawes, and then permanently (1997) by the Borodin Quartet's Mikhail Kopelman. In 2000, Sadao Harada was replaced by Clive Greensmith, former principal cellist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, making the Tokyo quartet truly international in membership. Martin Beaver joined the quartet as first violinist in 2002.

Tokyo's interpretations are primarily distinguished by their determination to serve the music, rather than to display virtuosity. Their tone has shifted somewhat with the changes in personnel, but the quartet has always managed to make the adjustment successfully without sacrificing the quality of their blend. Read less
Beethoven: Complete String Quartets / Tokyo SQ
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807641   Number of Discs: 8
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Schubert: String Quintet, Quartettsatz / David Watkin, Tokyo String Quartet
Release Date: 11/08/2011   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807427   Number of Discs: 1
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Dvorak: String Quartet No 12; Smetana: String Quartet No 1 / Tokyo String Quartet
Release Date: 05/14/2013   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807429   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven:
Release Date: 11/08/2005   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 907423   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven:
Release Date: 01/10/2006   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807423   Number of Discs: 2
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There are 44 Tokyo String Quartet recordings available.

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Biography

Active: 1969 - ; Tokyo, Japan
Shortly after its inception, the Tokyo Quartet became one of the most prominent string quartets in the world; since then, they have continued to uphold their reputation for insightful interpretations and a beautiful tonal blend. The quartet's original members -- Koichiro Harada (first violin), Yoshiko Nakura (second violin), Kazuhide Isomura (viola), and Sadao Harada (cello) -- all attened the Toho Gakuen (School of Music) during the 1960s, Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
I. Langsam
II. Massige Viertel
I. Poco adagio - Allegro
II. Adagio ma non troppo
III. Presto
IV. Allegretto con variazioni
I. Lento
II. Allegretto
III. Allegro vivace
I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Andantino
IV. Con moto
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Andante, un poco adagio
III. Scherzo: Allegro
IV. Finale: Poco sostenuto - Allegro non troppo
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Adagio
III. Scherzo: Presto - Trio: Andante sostenuto
IV. Allegretto
I. Allegro
II. Andante (fragment)
I. Allegro con brio
II. Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato
III. Scherzo (Allegro molto)
IV. Allegro
I. Allegro
II. Adagio cantabile - Allegro
III. Scherzo (Allegro) - Trio
IV. Allegro molto, quasi Presto
I. Allegro
II. Andante con moto
III. Allegro
IV. Presto
I. Allegro ma non tanto
II. Andante scherzoso quasi Allegretto
III. Menuetto (Allegro) - Trio
IV. Allegretto
I. Allegro
II. Menuetto - Trio
III. Andante cantabile
IV. Allegro
I. Allegro con brio
II. Adagio ma non troppo
III. Scherzo (Allegro) - Trio
IV. La Malinconia (Adagio - Allegretto quasi Allegro)
I. Allegro
II. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
III. Adagio molto e mesto
IV. Theme russe: Allegro
I. Allegro
II. Molto adagio
III. Allegretto
IV. Finale: Presto
I. Introduzione: Andante con moto-Allegro vivace
II. Andante con moto quasi Allegretto
III. Menuetto: Grazioso
IV. Finale: Allegro molto
Quartet VII No.1 In F major, Op.59: I. Allegro
Quartet VII No.1 In F major, Op.59: II. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
Quartet VII No.1 In F major, Op.59: III. Adagio molto e mesto
Quartet VII No.1 In F major, Op.59: IV. Theme russe: Allegro
Quartet VIII No.2 In E minor, Op.59: I. Allegro
Quartet VIII No.2 In E minor, Op.59: II. Molto adagio
Quartet VIII No.2 In E minor, Op.59: III. Allegretto
Quartet VIII No.2 In E minor, Op.59: IV. Finale: Presto
Quartet IX No.3 in C major, Op.59: I. Introduzione: Andante con moto-Allegro vivace
Quartet IX No.3 in C major, Op.59: II. Andante con moto quasi Allegretto
Quartet IX No.3 in C major, Op.59: III. Menuetto: Grazioso
Quartet IX No.3 in C major, Op.59: IV. Finale: Allegro molto
Piano Quintet in E-Flat, Op. 44: Allegro brillante
In modo d'una marcia; Un poco largamente; Agitato
Scherzo: Molto vivace
Allegro, ma non troppo
Allegro ma non troppo
Andante
Menuetto: Allegro; Trio
Allegro moderato
String Quartet No. 14, D810 in D Minor ("Der Tod und das Mädchen/Death and the Maiden"): Allegro
Andante con moto
Scherzo: Allegro molto; Trio
Presto
Allegro
Adagio
Andantino
Con moto
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 34, J. 182 in B-Flat: Allegro
Fantasia (Adagio)
Menuetto
Rondo (Allegro)
Musettes; Allegro
Adagio ma non troppo e molto cantabile
Scherzando vivace; Presto
Finale; Allegro con moto
Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo
GROßE FUGE, Op. 133
Finale (Rondo): Allegro
Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile
Presto
Adagio quasi un poco andante
Allegro
String Quartet, No. 13 in B-Flat, Op. 130: Adagio ma non troppo; Allegro
Presto
Andante con moto ma non troppo
Alla danza tedesca; Allegro assai
Quartet, Op. 132 in A Minor: Assai sostenuto; Allegro
Allegro ma non tanto
Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit in der lydischen Tonart: Molto adagio; Neue Kraft fühlend: Andante
Alla marcia, assai vivace
Allegro appassionato
Quartet, Op. 135 in F: Allegretto
Vivace
Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo
Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß: Grave, ma non troppo tratto
Allegro
Allegro
Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
Adagio molto e mesto
Thčme russe: Allegro
Poco adagio; Allegro
Poco adagio; Allegro
Adagio ma non troppo
Adagio ma non troppo
Presto; Piů presto quasi prestissimo
Presto; Piů presto quasi prestissimo
Allegretto con variazioni
Allegretto con variazioni
Quartet, Op. 59 No. 3 in C ("Rasumovsky" ): Introduzione: Andante con moto; Allegro vivace
Andante con moto quasi allegretto
Menuetto: Grazioso
Allegro molto
Quartet, Op. 95 "Serioso" in F Minor: Allegro con brio
Allegretto ma non troppo
Allegro assai ma serioso
Larghetto espressivo; Allegretto agitato


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