Emerson String Quartet

Biography

Active: 1976 - ; New York, NY
Since its formation in 1976, the Emerson String Quartet has gradually achieved recognition as one of the world's top chamber ensembles. The group's reputation partially rests upon its daring interpretations of core string quartet repertory; it has performed the complete quartet cycles of Beethoven, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, and Bartók in major concert halls around the world, and its interpretations tend toward the personal, the passionate, and Read more even the hell-for-leather. Audiences have responded enthusiastically to the quartet's involvement with the music it performs. The Emerson (named for Ralph Waldo Emerson) has recorded prolifically since signing with the Deutsche Grammophon label in 1987, and the quartet has won nine Grammy awards, including two for Best Classical Album.

One of those awards came in 1989, for a recording of the six Bartók string quartets that the Emerson made after presenting all six works in a single concert for its debut at New York's Carnegie Hall. The Bartók discs also won Gramophone's Record of the Year award in Britain, one of the quartet's three Gramophone awards. That concert typified the quartet's programming philosophy; the Emerson has attracted both devotees and newcomers with music-making that is ambitious, intellectually challenging, and at the same time a bit extreme in such a way as to attract widespread attention. In 1997 the Emerson presented Beethoven's cycle of 16 quartets in a group of eight concerts at New York's Lincoln Center, each featuring two Beethoven quartets paired with modern works that showed the extent of Beethoven's long shadow in some way. In early 2005, the Emerson presented Mendelssohn's quartets in both New York and England, juxtaposed with works by Mendelssohn's contemporaries. Since its founding, the Emerson has actively commissioned new works from a variety of composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, ranging from the complex modernist Wolfgang Rihm to the accessible Edgar Meyer.

The members of the Emerson String Quartet -- violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violist Lawrence Dutton, and cellist David Finckel -- have maintained top-flight solo careers of their own. The group is based in Newy York City, and in 2002 they became quartet-in-residence at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Their long list of awards includes the prestigioius Avery Fisher Prize in 2004, and the group members have received honorary doctorates from Middlebury College, Wooster College, and Bard College.

The Emerson is committed to collaborative projects with other artists. Their 2000 performance of the Shostakovich quartets culminated in a multimedia work called The Noise of Time, which mixed the quartet's performance of the composer's String Quartet No. 15 with film, dance, and taped readings. The group has performed many benefit concerts to raise finds for causes such as the fight against AIDS, nuclear disarmament, and world hunger. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 53 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 2.
    Sibelius Edition [14-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002362202 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Johanna Rusanen-Kartano,  Esa Ruuttunen,  Soile Isokoski,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Okko Kamu,  Herbert von Karajan,  Jorma Panula  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Helsinki Radio Symphony,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 3.
    Berg: Lyric Suite; Wellesz; Zeisl / Renee Fleming, Emerson Quartet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002370702 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Egon Wellesz,  Eric Zeisl
    Performer:  Renée Fleming
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    CD: $15.99
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  • 4.
    Tchaikovsky: Masterworks Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002362102 Release Date: 09/04/2015   Number of Discs: 27
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Rosemarie Lang,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Ruthid Engert-Ely,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Seiji Ozawa,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden,  Tchaikovsky Choir,  French National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 5.
    Journeys / Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 547060 Release Date: 05/21/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Arnold Schoenberg
    Performer:  Paul Neubauer,  Colin Carr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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    CD: $12.99
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  • 6.
    Beethoven Masterworks Collection  [51-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001813172 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Janet Perry,  Agnes Baltsa,  Vinson Cole,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Carlos Kleiber,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $118.49
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  • 7.
    Brahms: Complete Chamber Music [11-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725902 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Augustin Dumay,  Maria-Joao Pires,  Christian Ferras,  Pierre Barbizet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet,  Hagen String Quartet,  Amadeus Quartet
    Recommendation
    CD: $64.49
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  • 8.
    Mozart: Prussian Quartets / Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 793598 Release Date: 10/18/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Philip Setzer,  Eugene Drucker,  Lawrence Dutton,  David Finckel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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    CD: $14.99
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  • 9.
    Secrets Of The Old - Complete Songs Of Samuel Barber
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435867 Release Date: 06/10/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Samuel Barber
    Performer:  John Browning,  Cheryl Studer,  Thomas Hampson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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    On sale! $24.98
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: The String Quartets / Emerson String Quartet [7-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001477002 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    Recommendation
    CD: $39.99
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  • 11.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 248 Release Date: 08/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Serge Koussevitzky,  Walter Piston
    Performer:  Gary Karr
    Conductor:  Alfredo Antonini,  Sixten Ehrling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Emerson String Quartet,  Juilliard Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 12.
    Dvorak, Smetana: String Quartets / Emerson Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 429723 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Bedrich Smetana
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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  • 13.
    Old World - New World / Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001410602 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Paul Neubauer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Strings Quartets Op. 59 No 3 & Op. 132 / Emerson Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459063 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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  • 15.
    Intimate Letters - Janacek: String Quartets;  Martinu: Madrigals / Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4778093 Release Date: 05/19/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Bohuslav Martinu
    Performer:  Philip Setzer,  Lawrence Dutton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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  • 16.
    Mozart: The
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431797 Release Date: 04/13/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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    On sale! $33.98
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  • 17.
    Mozart: Hunt & Dissonance Quartets;  Haydn / Emerson
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 427657 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 18.
    Schubert: Death And The Maiden; Beethoven / Emerson Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 423398 Release Date: 06/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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  • 19.
    Bach: Fugues / Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001085502 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Philip Setzer,  David Finckel,  Lawrence Dutton,  Eugene Drucker  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Brahms: Quartets, Etc / Fleisher, Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000871802 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Philip Setzer,  David Finckel,  Eugene Drucker,  Lawrence Dutton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    Recommendation
    CD: $21.99
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  • 21.
    The Glory Of Rostropovich / 8-Disc Set
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000839202 Release Date: 03/20/2007   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Robert Schumann,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Giuseppe Tartini  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Rudolf Serkin,  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Paul Sacher,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Herbert von Karajan,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum,  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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    CD: $60.99
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  • 22.
    Bartók: 6 String Quartets / Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000815602 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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    CD: $25.49
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  • 23.
    Shostakovich: String Quartets / Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000638802 Release Date: 05/16/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Lawrence Dutton,  David Finckel,  Philip Setzer,  Eugene Drucker
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    On sale! $39.98
    CD: $32.99
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  • 24.
    Intimate Voices / Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000634002 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Jean Sibelius,  Edvard Grieg
    Performer:  Lawrence Dutton,  David Finckel,  Philip Setzer,  Eugene Drucker
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Mozart Collection - Quartets K 421, 458, 465 / Emerson Sq
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000552302 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    CD: $11.99
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