Emerson String Quartet Instrumentalists Perform With Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Artistic Director

Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (CCCMF), celebrating its 38th season as Cape Cod’s premiere presenter of summer chamber music presents Three Emersons and One Jon performed by members of world renowned Emerson String Quartet and CCCMF Artistic Director, pianist Jon Nakamatsu on Monday, August 7, 7:30 pm at First Congregational Church, 200 Main Street, Wellfleet.

Members of the legendary Emerson String Quartet return for their fifth consecutive CCCMF appearance.  In the absence of violinist Philip Setzer, on temporary hiatus, Nakamatsu joins the ensemble to perform a specially crafted program for the collected ensemble. Setzer’s colleagues, Eugene Drucker, violin, Lawrence Dutton, viola and Paul Watkins, cello, return bringing their signature musical magic to the Festival, always a favorite performance of the season.

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

The 2016-17 season marks the Emerson Quartet’s 40th Anniversary, and highlights of this milestone year reflect all aspects of the Quartet’s venerable artistry with high-profile projects and collaborations, commissions and recordings. Universal Music Group has reissued their entire Deutsche Grammophon discography in a 52-CD boxed set. After recent engagements together at the Kennedy Center and Tanglewood, illustrious soprano Renée Fleming joins the Emerson at Walt Disney Concert Hall, performing works by Alban Berg and Egon Wellesz from their first collaborative recording, released by Decca in fall of 2015. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has programmed celebratory concerts at Alice Tully Hall, as well as in Chicago and Purchase, NY, in October: the Calidore Quartet teams up with the Emerson for the Mendelssohn Octet, and the Emerson gives the New York premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Shroud (co-commissioned by CMS). Former Emerson cellist David Finckel appears as a special guest for Schubert’s Quintet in C Major. In May 2017, international acclaimed pianist Yefim Bronfman will join the Quartet for a performance of the Brahms Quintet at Carnegie Hall. Additional highlights include a concert with clarinetist David Shifrin as part of the Quartet’s season-long residency at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon, as well as a collaboration with cellist Clive Greensmith for the Schubert Quintet at the Soka Performing Arts Center in California. The Emerson continues its series at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC for its 38th season, and the quartet members have been selected as Artistic Advisors for Wolf Trap’s Chamber Music at The Barns in Virginia, curating the series in celebration of its 20th season. On April 21, 2017 the Quartet releases 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.

Multiple tours of Europe comprise dates in Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom (including Wigmore Hall for a 40th Anniversary Gala); the Quartet also tours South America and Asia.

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.

American pianist Jon Nakamatsu continues to draw unanimous praise as a true aristocrat of the keyboard, whose playing combines elegance, clarity, and electrifying power. A native of California, Nakamatsu came to international attention in 1997 when he was named Gold Medalist of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the only American to have achieved this distinction since 1981. He has performed widely in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East, collaborating with such conductors as James Conlon, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Osmo Vänskä and Hans Vonk, and has also performed at a White House concert during the Clinton presidency.  Nakamatsu records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa, which has released thirteen CDs to date. His all-Gershwin recording with Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic featuring Rhapsody in Blue and the Concerto in F rose to number three on Billboard’s classical music charts, earning extraordinary critical praise. Of his most recent release on the label, a 2014 solo disc of the piano works of Robert Schumann, BBC Music Magazine states that “Nakamatsu clarifies Schumann’s mid-range saturated textures to a remarkable degree, reveling in its fantastic imaginings with rapier-like precision and effortless command.”

Program:

Members of Emerson String Quartet:

Eugene Drucker, violin
Lawrence Dutton, viola
Paul Watkins, cello

Jon Nakamatsu, piano

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756 – 1791)
Divertimento in E-flat Major for Violin, Viola and Cello, KV 563
Allegro
Adagio
Menuetto: Allegretto; Trio
Andante
Menuetto: Allegretto; Trio I, Trio II
Allegro

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833 – 1897)
Quartet in G Minor for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello, Opus 25
Allegro
Intermezzo: Allegro ma non troppo; Trio
Andante con moto
Rondo alla Zingarese

CCCMF’s 38th summer season features 12 compelling concerts from August 1 through 25 at 7:30 pm in locations throughout the region.

Tickets ordered on or before June 30: $34 general admission; $15 for college students (with ID); admission is free for attendees 18 and under. General admission to three or more concerts: $32 per ticket. Emerson String Quartet concert: $50 (whether individually purchased or as part of the three-concert package)

Tickets ordered on or after July 1: $38 general admission; $15 for college students (with ID); admission is free for attendees 18 and under. General admission to three or more concerts: $36 per ticket. Emerson String Quartet concert: $55 (whether individually purchased or as part of the three-concert package)

Special first-time ticket buyer’s price and a discounted ticket for the August 1 concert, if you are between the ages of 19 and 40, are available by calling Festival office.

Festival seating is limited to venue capacity, advance purchase is recommended.  Tickets ordered online are available at will call at the performances.  Tickets may also be purchased by calling or visiting the box office at 508-247-9400 or at 3 Main Street Unit 6, North Eastham.  Box office hours are 10 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday.  Phone and online ticket orders are available until 12 noon on the day of each concert.

For more information about Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival’s 2017 season, performers, mission and venues, visit capecodchambermusic.org, or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

Hailed by The New York Times as “A Triumph of Quality,” the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (CCCMF) has been a year-round presenter of chamber music and a major contributor to the cultural life of Cape Cod since its inception in 1979. Founded as the Cape & Islands Chamber Music Festival by the late collaborative pianist Samuel Sanders, the Festival continues his legacy. Now entering its 38th season, CCCMF presents four weeks of intensive chamber music programming in a variety of Cape locations in July and August. Throughout the rest of the year, CCCMF presents autumn and spring concerts, a community outreach program, and benefit concerts in New York and on Cape Cod. Hoping to ignite the interest of a younger audience, CCCMF welcomes all youth up to age 18 to attend any regular concert free of charge. The Festival is also host to a Composer-in-Residence program, and features composers with Cape Cod connections. CCCMF is a private, non-profit organization supported by a volunteer Board of Directors with financial support from individuals, corporations, and foundations both local and nationwide. For more information about CCCMF’s programs, schedule or tickets, visit capecodchambermusic.org, call 508-247-9400 or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook and Twitter.

Photos:  

Top Left:  Members of Emerson String Quartet – Eugene Drucker, violin, Paul Watkins, cello, and Lawrence Dutton, viola, image by Lisa Mazzucco
Bottom Right:  CCCMF Artistic Director, pianist Jon Nakamatsu , courtesy image