Takács Quartet with
Edward Dusinberre, violin
Károly Schranz, violin
Geraldine Walther, viola
András Fejér, cello
Sunday, November 18
marc-AndrÉ Hamelin: portrait of a pianist & composer
SCHUBERT: Quartet No. 13 in A minor “Rosamunde”
BRITTEN: Quartet No. 3
SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Quintet
About This Performance
The celebrated Takács Quartet returns after opening the 2012–13 Chamber Music series to be joined by an SF Performances favorite, pianist Marc-André Hamelin. The brilliantly precise and committed ensemble playing of the Takács is beautifully matched by Hamelin’s masterful technique and sophisticated style.
Recognized as one of the world's great ensembles, the Takács Quartet plays with a unique blend of drama, warmth and humor, combining four distinct musical personalities to bring fresh insights to the string quartet repertoire.
In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London. Based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, the Takács Quartet performs ninety concerts a year worldwide, throughout Europe as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
During the 2012-13 season, the Takács, newly-appointed as Associate Artists at Wigmore Hall in London, will present five concerts there, including the three Britten Quartets (to celebrate the composer's 100th birthday year), the two Brahms viola quintets with British violist Lawrence Power, and the Schubert Cello Quintet with American cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. The Schubert Quintet will be released on Hyperion Records in the fall of 2012. The Quartet will also tour in North America with pianists Marc-Andre Hamelin and Garrick Ohlsson, including concerts at New York's Lincoln Center.
The Quartet’s award-winning recordings include the complete Beethoven Cycle on the Decca label. In 2005 the Late Beethoven Quartets won Disc of the Year and Chamber Award from BBC Music Magazine, a Gramophone Award and a Japanese Record Academy Award. Their recordings of the early and middle Beethoven quartets collected a Grammy, another Gramophone Award, a Chamber Music of America Award and two further awards from the Japanese Recording Academy. Of their performances and recordings of the Late Quartets, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “The Takács might play this repertoire better than any quartet of the past or present.”
In 2006 the Takács Quartet made its first recording for Hyperion Records, of Schubert's D804 and D810. A disc featuring Brahms' Piano Quintet with Stephen Hough was released to great acclaim in November 2007 and was subsequently nominated for a Grammy. Brahms’ Quartets Op. 51 and Op. 67 were released in the fall of 2008 and a disc featuring the Schumann Piano Quintet with Marc-Andre Hamelin was released in late 2009. The complete Haydn “Apponyi” Quartets, Op. 71 and 74, were released in November 2011.
The Quartet has also made sixteen recordings for the Decca label since 1988 of works by Beethoven, Bartok, Borodin, Brahms, Chausson, Dvorak, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Smetana. The ensemble’s recording of the six Bartok String Quartets received the 1998 Gramophone Award for chamber music and, in 1999, was nominated for a Grammy. In addition to the Beethoven String Quartet cycle recording, the ensemble's other Decca recordings include Dvorak’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 51 and Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 with pianist Andreas Haefliger; Schubert’s Trout Quintet with Mr. Haefliger, which was nominated in 2000 for a Grammy Award; string quartets by Smetana and Borodin; Schubert's Quartet in G Major and Notturno Piano Trio with Mr. Haefliger; the three Brahms string quartets and Piano Quintet in F Minor with pianist Andras Schiff; Chausso’'s Concerto for violin, piano and string quartet with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and Mozart’s String Quintets, K515 and 516 with Gyorgy Pauk, viola.
The Takács Quartet is known for innovative programming. In 2007 it performed, with Academy Award–winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Everyman in Carnegie Hall, inspired by the Philip Roth novel. The group collaborates regularly with the Hungarian folk ensemble Muzsikas, performing a program that explores the folk sources of Bartok’s music. The Takács performed a music and poetry program on a fourteen city US tour with the poet Robert Pinsky. In 2010 the quartet collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Theatre and playwright David Morse in a production of Quartet, a play set in Beethoven’s later years when he was writing the A minor quartet, Opus 132.
The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows at the University of Colorado Boulder. They have helped to develop a string program with a special emphasis on chamber music, where students work in a nurturing environment designed to help them develop their artistry. The Quartet’s commitment to teaching is enhanced by summer residencies at the Aspen Festival and at the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara. They are also Visiting Quartet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.
The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, while all four were students. It first received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics’ Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The Quartet also won the Gold Medal at the 1978 Portsmouth and Bordeaux Competitions and First Prizes at the Budapest International String Quartet Competition in 1978 and the Bratislava Competition in 1981. The Quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982. Violinist Edward Dusinberre joined the Quartet in 1993 and violist Roger Tapping in 1995. Violist Geraldine Walther replaced Mr. Tapping in 2005. In 2001 the Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight's Cross of the Republic of Hungary, and in March of 2011 each member of the Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit Commander’s Cross by the President of the Republic of Hungary.
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin’s unique blend of musicianship and virtuosity brings forth interpretations remarkable for their freedom, originality, and prodigious mastery of the piano’s resources. A musician of broad musical interests and curiosity, Hamelin is renowned in equal measure for his fresh readings of the established repertoire and for his exploration of lesser known works of the 19th and 20th century, both in the recording studio and in the concert hall.
This season Mr. Hamelin performs Haydn piano concerti with Les Violons du Roy and Bernard Labadie in a performance that will be recorded for release on Hyperion Records. He also performs Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and David Zinman, with the Atlanta Symphony and Hugh Wolff, and with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and Ainars Rubikis. He joins the National Philharmonic of Russia and Dmitry Vasiliev for concerti by Rubinstein and Medtner and appears with the San Francisco Symphony with David Robertson in the Ravel Left Hand Piano Concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, as was well as the Columbus Symphony and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
Mr. Hamelin tours the Shostakovich Piano Quintet with the Takacs String Quartet to Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Royal Conservatory of Music—Toronto, the Library of Congress, Celebrity Series of Boston, San Francisco Performances, the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Chamber Music Societies, and the University of Florida.
He will appear in recital at the 92nd Street Y for the New York premiere of his Variations on a Theme by Paganini, and is presented in recital by the Chicago Symphony. Other recital engagements include Baltimore’s Shriver Hall, Detroit Chamber Music Society, Music Toronto, Vancouver Recital Society, Edmonton Chamber Music Society, Portland Ovations (Maine) and Portland Piano (Oregon), Wigmore Hall, Berlin Piano Festival, and in Libson, Munich, Stuttgart, Moscow, and Antwerp.
During the summer of 2012 Mr. Hamelin appeared at the Ojai Music Festival, opened the Aspen Music Festival season with Robert Spano leading the orchestra in Gershwin’s Rhapsody and Blue and returned in recital. He joined the Seattle Chamber Music Society, the International Keyboard Festival, a recital and Mozart concerto the the Sao Paolo Symphony, recitals for the Montreal Symphony as part of their day long music marathon, Festival International de Piano La Roque d’Athéron in Aix-en-Provence, and the Helsingborg Piano Festival. In coordination with serving on the jury of the Edvard Grieg Piano Competition, he performed a recital at Grieg’s home, Troldhaugen.
In 2011/2012, Hamelin opened the season at the BBC Proms with a late night recital of Liszt works and with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales performing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paginini. He debuted with Berliner Philharmoniker in performances of Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 4, and appeared with the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Danish Radio Orchestra and the Helsingborg Symphony. In North America, he performed with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Montreal, Quebec and Seattle; he also performs the epic Busoni Piano Concerto throughout the season, in dates with the Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, the Orchestra Symphonique de Trois-Rivieres, and the New Jersey Symphony and Jacques Lacombe at Carnegie Hall for the Spring for Music Festival.
He also performed in recital throughout North America and internationally at London’s Wigmore Hall and at the Lucerne Piano Festival, and in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia and Sweden. Hamelin returned to Asia for appearances with the Singapore Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic, and recitals in Hong Kong and Seoul.
In recent seasons, Hamelin has performed with orchestra and in solo recital at New York City’s Lincoln Center; in recital and in chamber music on the various stages of Carnegie Hall; and on an international tour of the Schumann Piano Quintet with the Takács Quartet. The Pro Musica Society of Montreal paid tribute to Hamelin with a six-concert series, “The Art of Marc-André Hamelin.”
Marc-André Hamelin records exclusively for Hyperion Records. His most recent releases include Reger and Strauss concerti with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and a solo disc of works by Liszt that was selected by Bryce Morrison for Gramophone’s 2011 “Critic’s Choice” feature. An album of his own compositions, Hamelin: Ètudes, received a 2010 Grammy nomination (his ninth) and a first prize from the German Record Critic’s Association; the works are published by Edition Peters. His complete Hyperion discography includes concertos and works for solo piano by composers such as Alkan, Busoni, Godowsky, and Medtner, as well as brilliantly received performances of Brahms, Chopin, Haydn, Liszt and Schumann.
A resident of Boston, Marc-André Hamelin is the recipient of a lifetime achievement prize by the German Record Critic’s Association, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada.
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