Plus First Digital Release of 8 LPs; CDs available through


The Guarneri Quartet, a vibrant, beloved fixture on the chamber music scene for the better part of forty-five years, has launched its farewell tour amid an outpouring of critical and popular affection. Sony Masterworks pays tribute to the standard-setting ensemble with an album of new material, The Hungarian Album, featuring Dohnányi’s String Quartet No. 2 in D-flat Major, Op. 15; Kodály’s String Quartet No. 2, Op. 10; and Dohnányi’s String Quartet No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 33.


The Guarneri Quartet, one of the most distinguished string quartets of our time, will retire at the end of the 2008/2009 concert season. Violinists Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley, violist Michael Tree, and cellist Peter Wiley (the only non-originating member of the group) have made a name for themselves with splendid, unfussy, Old-World musicianship that seems to enliven every piece they play from the inside out.


Having recorded numerous critically acclaimed albums for RCA Red Seal during its illustrious career, it was only appropriate that the Guarneri Quartet cap off this abiding collaboration with a release of new material. Dohnányi’s String Quartet No. 2 in D-flat major is a masterpiece of the repertoire — full of lean, careening, darting lines that call forth the Hungarian folk tradition in rich, Romantic tonalities. The atmosphere of Kodály’s String Quartet No. 2, only one of two that he composed, is quite different, with its silky, slinking, teasing melodies that seem to expire in a single breath. The propulsive energy of Dohányi’s String Quartet No. 3 closes the disc. Sony Masterworks is proud to present the ensemble in a recording that again demonstrates the group’s mastery of style through their understanding of a composer’s intentions.


To commemorate its longstanding recording relationship with the ensemble, Sony Masterworks is also making available for the first time in digital format an incredible sampling of the quartet’s back catalogue. These eight recordings, which were never previously released on CD, are treasures of the group’s discography. They include Bartók: The String Quartets, Brahms: String Quartets & Quintets, Mozart: String Quartets, Dvorák: String Quartets & Terzetto, Italian Album, Schubert: String Quartets, Mendelssohn/Schumann: String Quartets, and Mozart:/Beethoven/Dvorák: String Quintets. They will be available on all digital service providers, including iTunes and Amazon MP3 store on Tuesday, February 3, coinciding with the release of The Hungarian Album. CDs, complete with each album’s original cover art and liner notes, will be available exclusively through


The extensive farewell tour will take the quartet to almost every major city in the U.S. The earliest concert reviews are already in, celebrating an ensemble that is leaving while “still at the top of its game” (Columbus Dispatch). Mark Swed of The Los Angeles Times calls the ensemble the “Rolls Royce” of string quartets and praises the group’s “ultra-plush, million-dollar tone.” The critical response to the farewell tour is no polite acknowledgement of artists in the autumn of their abilities, but rather a celebration of an ensemble still at the height of its powers. The tour is a must-see event of the 2008/09 season.


The Quartet continues their longstanding series and residency at the University of Maryland, where they are on the faculty. As they told the Columbus Dispatch, “None of us are thinking of this as retirement in any way, because individually, we'll continue playing and we'll continue teaching.”



Bartók: The String Quartets

Brahms: String Quartets & Quintets

Mozart: String Quartets

Dvorák: String Quartets & Terzetto

Italian Album

Schubert: String Quartets

Mendelssohn/Schumann: String Quartets

Mozart:/Beethoven/Dvorák: String Quintets



Date Venue City

2/7 Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, NY

2/10 Kennedy Center Washington, DC

3/1 Fletcher Opera Theater Raleigh, NC

3/2 Converse College Spartanburg, SC

3/3 Emory University Atlanta, GA

3/7 Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, NY

3/13 University of Delaware Newark, DE

3/21 Folley Theater Kansas City, MO

3/23 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS

3/25 Alice Tully Hall New York, NY

3/27 St. Mark’s Methodist Church Indialantic, FL

3/29 Kravits Center West Palm Beach, FL

3/30 University of Miami Miami, FL

4/3 Hotchkiss School Lakeville, CT

4/5 Market Square Church Harrisburg, PA

4/11 Seligman PAC Beverly Hill, MI

4/15 Drew University Madison, NJ

4/21 Camelback Bible Church Phoenix, AZ

4/22 Arizona Friends of Chamber Music Tucson, AZ

4/25 Washington Irving HS New York, NY

5/12 Kleinhans Music Hall Buffalo, NY

5/15 Kimmel Center Philadelphia, Pa

5/16 Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, NY

5/17 JCC W. Orange, NJ

5/20 Rockefeller University New York, NY

5/27 St. James United Church Montreal, Canada

5/31 Amelia Island Festival Amelia Island, FL


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