Beethoven: Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 12 no. 3 in E-flat Major
Walker: Lyric for Strings
Chausson: Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet
Eugene Drucker & Philip Setzer – violins
Lawrence Dutton – viola
Paul Watkins – cello
The Emerson String Quartet has amassed an unparalleled list of achievements over four 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.
The arrival of Paul Watkins in 2013 has had a profound effect on the Emerson Quartet. Mr. Watkins, a distinguished soloist, award-winning conductor, and devoted chamber musician,joined the ensemble in its 37th season, and his dedication and enthusiasm have infused the Quartet with a warm, rich tone and a palpable joy in the collaborative process. The reconfigured group has been praised by critics and fans alike around the world. “The Emerson brought the requisite virtuosity to every phrase. But this music is equally demanding emotionally and intellectually, and the group’s powers of concentration and sustained intensity were at least as impressive.” The New York Times
Having celebrated its 40th Anniversary last season– a major milestone for a ground-breaking ensemble that has earned its place in the pantheon of the classical chamber music world, the Emerson looks towards the future by collaborating with today’s most esteemed composers and premiering new works, thus proving their commitment to keeping the art form of the string quartet alive and more relevant than ever. In 2016, Universal Music Group reissued their entire Deutsche Grammophon discography in a 52-CD boxed set, and in April 2017, the Quartet released its latest album, Chaconnes and Fantasias: Music of Britten and Purcell, the first release on Universal Music Classics’ new US classical record label, Decca Gold. The 2017-2018 season reflects all aspects of the Emerson’s venerable artistry with high-profile projects, collaborations and tours. In Fall 2017, the Emerson continues its series at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC for its 39th season, and performances at the Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival and at Alice Tully Hall. Other North American highlights of the season include a subsequent performance at the Princeton University of Shostakovich and The Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy, the new theatrical production co-created by the acclaimed theater director James Glossman and the Quartet’s violinist, Philip Setzer; collaborations with the Calidore Quartet at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA and the Dover Quartet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; and concert appearances at Cleveland, Philadelphia and Corpus Christi Chamber Music Societies, Vancouver Recital Society, Chamber Music Houston, Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts, South Mountain Concerts, Duke Performances and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as in Sleepy Hollow, NY, Louisville, KY, Shreveport, LA and Richmond, VA. In April 2018, the renowned pianist Evgeny Kissin joins the Emerson for three performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Hall andBoston’s Jordan Hall, and appears with the Quartet in France, Germany and Austria. Throughout the season, The Emerson embarks on multiple tours in South America, Asia and Europe comprising dates in Austria, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson was one of the first quartets whose violinists alternated in the first chair position. The Emerson Quartet, which took its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, is Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. During the spring of 2016, full-time Stony Brook faculty members Philip Setzer and Lawrence Dutton received the honor of Distinguished Professor, and part-time faculty members Eugene Drucker and Paul Watkins were awarded the title of Honorary Distinguished Professor. 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.
Recipient of the prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the 2017 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists, violinist Paul Huang is quickly gaining attention for his eloquent music making, distinctive sound, and effortless virtuosity. The Washington Post proclaimed Mr. Huang as “an artist with the goods for a significant career” following his recital debut at the Kennedy Center.
His recent and forthcoming engagements include his recital debut at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland as well as solo appearances with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev (St. Petersburg’s White Nights Festival), Berliner Symphoniker with Lior Shambadal (Philharmonie Berlin debut), Detroit Symphony with Leonard Slatkin, Houston Symphony with Andres Orozco-Estrada, Orchestra of St. Luke’s with Carlos Miguel Prieto, Seoul Philharmonic with Markus Stenz, and Taipei Symphony with Gilbert Varga (both in Taipei and on a U.S. tour). This season, he will also be making his Chicago orchestral debut at the Grant Park Music Festival, as well as appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic and with the Baltimore, Alabama, Pacific, Santa Barbara, Charlotte, and Taiwan’s National Symphony Orchestras.
During the 2018-19 season, Mr. Huang will make debuts at the Hong Kong Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and return to the Palm Beach Chamber Music Society with the Emerson String Quartet and pianist Gilles Vonsattel for a performance of the Chausson Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet. In addition, Mr. Huang continues his association with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Camerata Pacifica where he will present all three violin sonatas by Johannes Brahms.
Mr. Huang’s recent recital engagements included Lincoln Center’s “Great Performers” series and return enagagement at the Kennedy Center where he premiered Conrad Tao’s “Threads of Contact” for Violin and Piano during his recital evening with pianist Orion Weiss. He also stepped in for Midori with Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony to critical acclaim. Mr. Huang has also made debuts at the Wigmore Hall, Seoul Arts Center, and the Louvre in Paris.
His first solo CD, Intimate Inspiration, is a collection of favorite virtuoso and romantic encore pieces released on the CHIMEI label. In association with Camerata Pacifica, he recorded “Four Songs of Solitude” for solo violin on their album of John Harbison works. The album was released on the Harmonia Mundi label in fall 2014.
A frequent guest artist at music festivals worldwide, he has performed at the Seattle, Music@Menlo, Caramoor, Bridgehampton, La Jolla, Moritzburg, Kissinger Sommer, Sion, Orford Musique, and the Great Mountains Music Festival in Korea. His collaborators have included Gil Shaham, Cho-Liang Lin, Nobuko Imai, Lawrence Power, Maxim Rysanov, Mischa Maisky, Jian Wang, Frans Helmerson, Lynn Harrell, Yefim Bronfman, and Marc-Andre Hamelin.
Winner of the 2011 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Mr. Huang made critically acclaimed recital debuts in New York and in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center. Other honors include First Prize at the 2009 International Violin Competition Sion-Valais (Tibor Varga) in Switzerland, the 2009 Chi-Mei Cultural Foundation Arts Award for Taiwan’s Most Promising Young Artists, the 2013 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant, and the 2014 Classical Recording Foundation Young Artist Award.
Born in Taiwan, Mr. Huang began violin lessons at the age of seven. He is a proud recipient of the inaugural Kovner Fellowship at The Juilliard School, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees under Hyo Kang and I-Hao Lee. He plays on the 1742 ex-Wieniawski Guarneri del Gesù on loan through the generous efforts of the Stradivari Society of Chicago. His website is www.paulhuangviolin.com.
A “wanderer between worlds” (Lucerne Festival), Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is an artist of extraordinary versatility and originality. Comfortable with and seeking out an enormous range of repertoire, Vonsattel displays a musical curiosity and sense of adventure that has gained him many admirers. Recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and winner of the Naumburg and Geneva competitions as well as the 2016 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, he has in recent years made his Boston Symphony, Tanglewood, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony debuts, while performing recitals and chamber music at Ravinia, Tokyo’s Musashino Hall, Wigmore Hall, Bravo! Vail, Music@Menlo, the Gilmore festival, the Lucerne festival, and the Munich Gasteig. His most recent 2014 New York solo recital was hailed as “tightly conceived and passionately performed…a study in intensity” by The New York Times.
Reengaged by the San Francisco Symphony, he has also appeared with the Warsaw Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, l’Orchestre Symphonique duQuébec, Boston Pops, Nashville Symphony, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Staatskapelle Halle, and L’orchestre de chambre de Genève. Chamber partners include musicians such as James Ehnes, Frank Huang, Ilya Gringolts, Nicolas Altstaedt, David Shifrin, David Finckel, Stefan Jackiw, Jörg Widmann, Gary Hoffman, Carter Brey, Anthony Marwood, Paul Neubauer, Paul Watkins, Philip Setzer, Emmanuel Pahud, Karen Gomyo, David Jolley, Ida Kavafian, and the Swiss Chamber Soloists. He has appeared in concert with the Pacifica, Orion, Ebène, Danish, Daedalus, Escher, and Borromeo Quartets. Deeply committed to the performance of contemporary works, he has premiered numerous works both in the United States and Europe and worked closely with notable composers such as Jörg Widmann, Heinz Holliger, and George Benjamin. His 2011 recording for the Honens/Naxos label of music by Debussy, Honegger, Holliger, and Ravel was named one of Time Out New York’s classical albums of the year, while a 2014 release on GENUIN/Artist Consort received a 5/5 from FonoForum and international critical praise. His latest solo release (2015) for Honens of Scarlatti, Webern, Messiaen, Debussy, and George Benjamin’s Shadowlines received rave reviews in Gramophone, The New York Times, and the American Record Guide.
Recent projects include Berg’s Kammerkonzert with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, a tour with Jörg Widmann and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Mozart concerti with the Vancouver Symphony and Florida Orchestra, performances at Seoul’s LG Arts Centre and at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, collaborations with Kent Nagano with L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the Munich Philharmonic (Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety) as well as numerous appearances internationally and throughout the United States with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Vonsattel received his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Columbia University and his master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal. He is on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and makes his home in New York City. Gilles Vonsattel is a Steinway Artist.
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