Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Emerson String Quartet to play works by Haydn and Schubert, plus co-commissioned music by Lowell Liebermann, Oct. 15 at Schwab

Emerson String Quartet—a chamber ensemble unrivaled in recordings, awards and collaborations and described as “the one indispensible quartet” by Newsweek—will return to the Center for the Performing Arts for the first time in six years with a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in Schwab Auditorium.

The quartet’s program will feature Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4, “Sunrise,” and Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, Op. 29, “Rosamunde.” The quartet also will perform Lowell Liebermann’s String Quartet No. 5, Op. 126, which was co-commissioned by the Center for the Performing Arts through its membership in the national consortium Music Accord.

Emerson’s visit to Penn State will include a variety of no-cost engagement events, including a visit by Liebermann, for students and the public.

Purchase tickets, which are $42 for an adult, $19 for a University Park student, and $32 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

Since its inception in 1976, the New York City-based quartet has recorded more than 30 albums and won nine Grammy and three Gramophone awards. In January, the quartet received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, the highest honor bestowed by Chamber Music America, a national association of professional chamber musicians.

Emerson also is notable for how the musicians are arranged on stage, with the violinists alternating first-chair position. In 2002, the ensemble started performing in the standing position, with the cellist seated on a riser, a formation that results in better sound projection.

“We feel freer while playing, and cues are easier to follow,” said violinist Eugene Drucker.

In 2013, Paul Watkins succeeded longtime cellist David Finckel, co-artistic director of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

“The ‘old’ Emerson String Quartet never phoned one in,” wrote a New York Times reviewer. “But this new group—Mr. Watkins alongside the violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer and the violist Lawrence Dutton—complemented their customary power, finesse and unanimity with a fresh, palpable Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, takes place in Schwab one hour before vigor at (Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall), and it was electrifying.”

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring Emerson musicians Dutton and Watkins plus composer Liebermann, is offered in Schwab one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Speakers are subject to change.

This presentation is a component of the Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project provides opportunities to engage students, faculty and the community with classical music artists and programs.

Designer’s Studio sponsors the concert. The Norma and Ralph Condee Chamber Music Endowment provides support. WPSU is the media sponsor.

Watch Lincoln Center’s video feature about Emerson