Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

String Quartet Set to Play; Church Will Host Emerson Concert

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

String Quartet Set to Play; Church Will Host Emerson Concert

Article excerpt

Byline: Tamara McClaran

They have been called "America's greatest quartet" by Time magazine and "one of the most impressive of American string quartets" by the New York Times.

Nevertheless, the members of the Emerson String Quartet, an acclaimed chamber ensemble, do not take their artistry for granted. They say their biggest challenge is maintaining the level of tone and virtuosity that audiences have come to expect.

"We strive to make sure our performances live up to their expectations," violinist Eugene Drucker said.

The chamber ensemble will present a free performance Sunday at St. Paul's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Jacksonville Beach as part of the Beaches Fine Arts Series.

Formed in 1976, the New York-based Emerson String Quartet has garnered an international reputation as a chamber music string quartet that approaches classical and contemporary repertoire. American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired the quartet's name. Drucker and violinist Philip Setzer alternate in the first chair position; they're joined by violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist David Finckel.

The quartet maintains a performance schedule that spans the globe and includes about 100 concerts a year. They recently returned from performances in Germany, Switzerland and London. The group collaborates with a wide range of artists and has released a series of recordings.

The Emerson String Quartet has received eight Grammy awards, including two this year for best chamber music performance and best engineered album for its recording of the complete Felix Mendelssohn quartets. The four-disc set with DVD includes a performance of Mendelssohn's famous Octet, in which the ensemble is featured playing all eight voices. Their previous Grammy awards include two honors for best classical album.

The quartet's Jacksonville Beach program will offer an array of musical textures. The program will open with String Quartet in D Major, Op. 44, No. 1 by Mendelssohn, followed by Quartet No. 2, Op. 17 by Bela Bartok. After an intermission, guest artist David Krakauer on clarinet will join the quartet for Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. …

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