Emerson Quartet bids farewell to Denver at Friends of Chamber Music series

The Emerson Quartet is often referred to as “America’s string quartet,” and for good reason. For 47 years, the ensemble toured the country relentlessly, bringing its unrivaled versions of the world’s best classical to cities far and wide. Locally, the group has held a steady place in the lineup of Friends of Chamber Music’s annual concert series — appearing during 18 seasons — more than any other featured players.

And so it is fitting that Emerson pulls into Denver one last time to open the FCM’s 2022-23 season on Sept. 11 at Newman Center for the Performing Arts. The members have decided enough Mozart and Brahms and Beethoven is enough; they are disbanding at the end of their current tour.

That makes this FCM show a very sentimental occasion and, appropriately, the ensemble is going Romantic with its program: Mendelssohn’s Quartet No. 1; Ravel’s Quartet in F Major; and Dvorak’s Quartet No. 14.

The Emerson Quartet played a huge role in the classical music industry, practically inventing the way a quartet can come together, make music and make a living. A slew of string quartets modeled themselves after Emerson’s ways, combining international road shows and recordings with residencies at colleges and universities.

Along the way, the group won nine Grammy awards and the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize. They were stars on the roster of the legendary classical label Deutsche Grammophon.

For the record, the current members are Eugene Drucker, violin, Philip Setzer, violin, Lawrence Dutton, viola, and Paul Watkins, cello . While the quartet is disbanding, the individual players plan to continue performing in some capacity, as well as teaching at the Emerson String Quartet Institute at Stony Brook University in New York.

Here is the rest of Friends of Chamber Music’s 2022-23 season:

Chamber Music series:

  • Nov. 30: the Junction (JCT) Trio
  • Dec. 14: Baritone Will Liverman
  • Feb. 5: Skride Piano Quarter
  • March 22: Violinist Leila Josefowicz
  • April 26: Pacifica Quartet, with clarinetist Anthony McGill
  • May 10: Imani Winds

Piano series:

  • Oct. 6: Sir András Schiff
  • Jan. 23: Leif Ove Andsnes

More information on programming can be found at www.friendsofchambermusic.com. For tickets, call 303-871-7720 or go online at fcm.newmantix.com.

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