Further context and perspective on Beethoven's string quartets will be provided in seven 45-minute chamber music concerts by young musicians presented prior to the Emerson's own performances.
In addition to the Beethoven cycle, the Emerson will also perform works by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Ives, Bart‹k and Shostakovich, along with the world premiere of a new quartet by Kaija Saariaho called Terra Memoria.
The Perspectives series also includes a Discovery Day event, a training workshop and two Young Artists Concerts. The workshop will feature three young ensembles — the Vinca, Le Musiche, and Akademos Quartets — performing Beethoven quartets in master classes and concerts. An all-day symposium will include an opening keynote address by Edmund Morris, author of Beethoven: The Universal Composer, a dramatic reading, a lecture-demonstration, a film screening and a panel discussion.
Formed in 1976, the Emerson String Quartet — violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist David Finckel — is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary season. The ensemble recently marked its 20th year as Deutsche Grammophon recording artists with the release of an all-Brahms disc comprising the three Quartets and the Piano Quintet with Leon Fleisher.
"Beethoven's quartets transcend their historical context," said Drucker, "they cast a long shadow over virtually every composer that followed, and irrevocably changed the musical landscape."
A companion website, featuring interviews with members of the Emerson Quartet, will be launched in May at www.carnegiehall.org.