Recognized as one of the world’s premiere string quartets, the Takács Quartet has been in residence at the University of Colorado since 1983 and, in collaboration with other string faculty, has developed a program geared toward students who relish the chance to develop their artistry with a special emphasis on chamber music, in a small tightly knit community where students will not be lost in the crowd. Members of the Takács admit a small number of students to their individual classes each year and work intensively with a resident graduate string quartet. Although the quartet maintains a high-profile international career, the schedule is managed carefully to allow for regular and frequent periods teaching in Boulder. The quartet’s commitment to teaching is enhanced by summer residencies at the Aspen Festival and at the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara. The Takács is a Visiting Quartet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.
The residency of the Takács Quartet at the College of Music at CU-Boulder is made possible in part with the generous support of Barbara and Ralph Christoffersen. Significant scholarships to study with members of the Takács are available, thanks to the Takács Society and the Starling Foundation.
Now entering its 40th season the Takács perform 80 concerts a year worldwide, maintaining an active career in Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea. The quartet are Associate Artists at the South Bank Centre in London, performing several concerts there each year and participating in outreach projects.
The ensemble is known for its award-winning recordings on the Decca label, including its two-CD set of Beethoven’s three “Razumovsky” String Quartets, Op. 59 and Quartet in E–flat Major, Op. 74, “Harp”, which won the Grammy Award and the Gramophone Award for Best Chamber Performance in 2002. The album is the first installment of the Takács Quartet’s recordings of the complete Beethoven Quartet cycle in three sets, the second of which (the Early Quartets, Op. 18) was released in January 2004, and won the 2004 Japan Record Academy Chamber Music Award. The quartet’s third and final CD of the late quartets plus Op. 95 and the Grosse Fugue, was released to ecstatic praise in January, 2005. Of their performances and recordings of these quartets, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “The Takács might play this repertoire better than any quartet of the past or present.”
In 2015-2016, the Takács returns to Carnegie Hall for two programs, one featuring a new work by composer Timo Andres, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and one with pianist Garrick Ohlsson. The quartet will also perform with Ohlsson at Stanford, the University of Richmond, Spivey Hall in Atlanta and at the University of Florida. For the first time in many years the Takács will perform in Santiago, Chile, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In addition to its annual Wigmore Hall series in London, where the quartet are Associate Artists, other European engagements in 2015-2016 include performances in Oslo, Amsterdam, Budapest, Hamburg, Hannover, Brussels, Bilbao and a concert at the Schubertiade in Hohenems, Austria.
The Takács became the first string quartet to win the Wigmore Hall Medal in May 2014. The medal, inaugurated in 2007, recognizes major international artists who have a strong association with the hall. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. In 2001, The Takács Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, while all four were students. It first received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics’ Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The quartet also won the Gold Medal at the 1978 Portsmouth and Bordeaux Competitions and First Prizes at the Budapest International String Quartet Competition in 1978 and the Bratislava Competition in 1981. The quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982.
Violinist Edward Dusinberre joined the quartet in 1993 and violist Roger Tapping in 1995. Violist Geraldine Walther replaced Tapping in summer 2005. Of the original ensemble, violinist Károly Schranz and cellist András Fejér remain.