The Emerson String Quartet

Apex Concerts proudly presents the Emerson String Quartet. This legendary group has maintained its status as one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles for more than four decades. The Quartet has made more than 30 acclaimed recordings and has been honored with nine GRAMMYs® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” award. The Quartet collaborates with some of today’s most esteemed composers to premiere new works, keeping the string quartet form alive and relevant. The group has partnered in performance with such stellar soloists as Reneé Fleming, Barbara Hannigan, Evgeny Kissin, Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman, to name a few. Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson String Quartet takes its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. In their Apex Concerts performance, they will bring to Reno two transcendental masterpieces of chamber music. Joseph Haydn’s monumental “The Seven Last Words of Christ” for String Quartet and in collaboration with cellist Dmitri Atapine, the immortal String Quintet in C Major by Franz Schubert, one of the last compositions by the Austrian master: the embodiment of hope and defiance in times of hardship.

  • Joseph Haydn (1732-1802) “The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross” for String Quartet (1786)
  • Franz Schubert (1797-1828) String Quintet in C major for Two Violins, Viola and Two Cellos, D. 956 (1828)

The Artists

Emerson String Quartet

Four members of the Emerson Quartet sit and pose for picture outsideEugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violin; Lawrence Dutton, viola; Paul Watkins, cello.

The Emerson String Quartet has maintained its status as one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles for more than four decades. “With musicians like this...” wrote a reviewer for The Times (London), “there must be some hope for humanity.” The Quartet has made more than 30 acclaimed recordings and has been honored with nine GRAMMYs® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” award. The Quartet collaborates with some of today’s most esteemed composers to premiere new works, keeping the string quartet form alive and relevant. The group has partnered in performance with such stellar soloists as Reneé Fleming, Barbara Hannigan, Evgeny Kissin, Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman, to name a few. The Emerson String Quartet’s 2019-2020 season, which began with a seven-city tour of Australia, included a number of high-profile projects. The Quartet made appearances at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, Friends of Chamber Music in Vancouver, Wharton Center for Performing Arts in East Lansing, MI, South Mountain Concerts, Wooster Chamber Music, Chamber Music Cincinnati, Chamber Music Louisville and Friends of Music Concerts in Millwood, NY. Overseas, the Quartet embarked on two European tours, with stops in Serbia, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Denmark. The Quartet’s extensive discography includes the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bartok, Webern and Shostakovich, as well as multi-CD sets of the major works of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Dvorak. In October 2020, the group releases a recording of Schumann’s three string quartets for the PENTATONE label. The ensemble also has recorded music by Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Debussy, Ravel, Barber and Ives. In April of 2019, the Quartet joined forces with GRAMMY®-winning pianist Evgeny Kissin to release their debut collaborative album for Deutsche Grammophon, recorded live at a sold-out Carnegie Hall concert in 2018. Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson String Quartet was one of the first quartets to have its violinists alternate in the first chair position. The Quartet, which takes its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, balances busy performing careers with a commitment to teaching and serves as quartet-in-residence at Stony Brook University. In 2013, cellist Paul Watkins — a distinguished soloist, award-wining conductor and devoted chamber musician — joined the original members of the quartet to form today’s group. In the spring of 2016, the State University of New York awarded full-time Stony Brook faculty members Philip Setzer and Lawrence Dutton the status of distinguished professor and conferred the title of honorary distinguished professor on part-time faculty members Eugene Drucker and Paul Watkins. The quartet’s members previously had received honorary doctorates from Middlebury College, the College of Wooster, Bard College and the University of Hartford. In January of 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. The Emerson String Quartet enthusiastically endorses Thomastik strings.

Dmitri Atapine, cello

Dmitri AtapineDmitri Atapine has been described as a cellist with “brilliant technical chops” (Gramophone), whose playing is “highly impressive throughout” (The Strad). He has appeared on some of the world's foremost stages, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Zankel and Weill halls at Carnegie Hall and the National Auditorium of Spain. An avid chamber musician, he frequently performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two). His multiple festival appearances have included Music@Menlo, La Musica Sarasota, Pacific, Aldeburgh, Aix-en-Provence, Nevada and Cactus Pear, with performances broadcast in Spain, Italy, the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South Korea. His many awards include the first prize at the Carlos Prieto Cello Competition, as well as top honors at the Premio Vittorio Gui and Plowman chamber competitions. He has collaborated with such distinguished musicians as Cho-Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Wu Han, Bruno Giuranna and David Shifrin. His recordings, among them a critically acclaimed world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s complete works for cello and piano, can be found on the Naxos, Albany, MSR, Urtext Digital, Blue Griffin and Bridge record labels. Atapine holds a doctorate from the Yale School of Music, where he was a student of Aldo Parisot. The artistic director of Apex Concerts and Ribadesella Chamber Music Festival, he is the cello professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.