The Emerson String Quartet has announced its retirement, giving its last performances in summer 2023.
The ensemble, long rated one of the leading US quartets, was formed in 1976 at the Juilliard School in New York, and has gone through several personnel changes over the years. Originally composed of violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Seltzer, violist Guillermo Figueroa Jr. and cellist Eric Wilson, the group’s current members are Drucker, Seltzer, violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist Paul Watkins.
That foursome, along with cellist David Finckel, who played in the group from 1979 to 2013, plan to continue coaching young musicians through the Emerson String Quartet Institute at New York’s Stony Brook University.
“Each city on our itineraries” – Richmond has been a regular stop – “has had its own unique associations for us, giving atmosphere, texture and the all-important personal dimension to our recollections of the passing seasons,” Drucker said in a statement accompanying the retirement announcement.
The Emerson is the second major string quartet to call it quits in recent months. Germany’s Artemis Quartet lost several members and indefinitely suspended performing in May.