The Emerson String Quartet stands apart in the history of string quartets with an unparalleled list of achievements over three decades: more than thirty acclaimed recordings, nine Grammys® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year”, and collaborations with many of the greatest artists of our time.
In what has been its first member change since 1979, the Emerson Quartet welcomed Paul Watkins as its cellist on May 11, 2013. Mr. Watkins, a distinguished soloist, award-winning conductor, and dedicated chamber musician, joins the ensemble for its 37th season.
In a season of over 85 quartet performances, mingled with the Quartet members’ individual artistic commitments, the Emerson plays extensively throughout North America and Europe. Season highlights include collaborations with soprano Barbara Hannigan for Berg’s Lyric Suite at the Berlin Festival, with violist Roberto Diaz for Mendelssohn’s Viola Quintet at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and with the Calidore String Quartet for the Mendelssohn Octet at Princeton University. Multiple tours of Europe comprise dates in Denmark, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Austria, Hungary and the United Kingdom; they also visit Moscow, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul.
The Emerson’s 2015-16 season begins with the release of a disc with world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming on the Decca/Universal label.
Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Quartet took its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Emerson String Quartet is Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University.
In January 2015, the Quartet received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, Chamber Music America’s highest honor, in recognition of its significant and lasting contribution to the chamber music field.