At Centrum in 2008…the Tokyo String Quartet

Tokyo_string_quartet_2 One of the the finest chamber music ensembles in the world, the Tokyo String Quartet has captivated audiences and critics alike since it's founding over thirty years ago.

The quartet–Martin Beaver and Kikuei Ikeda (violins), Kazuhide Isomura (viola), and Clive Greensmith (cello)–has collaborated with a remarkable array of artists and composers, built a comprehensive catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings, and established a distinguished teaching record.

Performing over a hundred concerts worldwide each season, the Tokyo String Quartet has a devoted international following that includes the major capitals of the world and extends to all four corners, from Australia to Estonia to Scandinavia and the Far East.

Dedicated to the performance of both new work and the classical repertoire, the Tokyo Quartet this season performs the N.Y. premieres of "Blossoming for String Quartet" by Japanese composer Toshio Hosakawa and "Primera Luz" by Lera Auerbach. These works will be among those presented in three programs at New York's 92nd Street Y, where the quartet continues the 4th year of its official residency.

Traveling extensively overseas each year, the Tokyo this fall and spring will tour European cities in Austria, Germany, Finland, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. They will return to Japan to perform in Tokyo’s Oji Hall, and Osaka’s Izumi Hall and are invited back to the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Toyama for the annual string-quartet seminar.

In addition to spending much of each summer teaching and performing at the prestigious Norfolk Chamber Music Festival–having served on the faculty of the Yale School of Music as quartet-in-residence since 1976–the Tokyo Quartet this year will also attend the Edinburgh Festival, the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and the Schubertiade Festival in Schwarzenberg, Austria. Deeply committed to coaching young string quartets, the ensemble also conducts master classes in North America, Europe and the Far East throughout the year.

The Tokyo String Quartet has released more than 40 landmark recordings on BMG/RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel-EMI, CBS Masterworks, Deutsche Grammophon and Vox Cum Laude, including the complete quartets of Beethoven, Schubert and Bartók. The quartet’s recordings of Brahms, Debussy, Dvorák, Haydn, Mozart, Ravel and Schubert have earned such honors as the Grand Prix du Disque Montreux, "Best Chamber Music Recording of the Year" awards from both Stereo Review and Gramophone magazines and seven Grammy nominations.

Following the highly praised recording of Beethoven’s three middle "Razumovsky" string quartets on the Harmonia Mundi label, the ensemble in an ongoing collaboration with Harmonia Mundi plans the release of Beethoven’s Op. 18 quartets in November. A disc featuring works by Dvorák and Smetana is slated for release soon thereafter, and a third recording of Beethoven quartets is projected which will complete the entire cycle.

The Tokyo String Quartet has been featured on numerous television programs, including "Sesame Street," "CBS Sunday Morning," PBS’s "Great Performances," "CNN This Morning" and a national television broadcast from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, as well as on the soundtrack for the Sidney Lumet film Critical Care, starring Kyra Sedgwick and James Spader.

The ensemble performs on the "Paganini Quartet", a group of renowned Stradivarius instruments named for legendary virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, who acquired and played them during the 19th century. The instruments have been on loan to the ensemble from the Nippon Music Foundation since 1995, when they were purchased from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Officially formed in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music, the Tokyo String Quartet traces its origins to the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where the founding members were profoundly influenced by Professor Hideo Saito. Instilled with a deep commitment to chamber music, the original members of what would become the Tokyo String Quartet eventually came to America for further study with Robert Mann, Raphael Hillyer and Claus Adam. Soon after its formation, the quartet won First Prize at the Coleman Competition, the Munich Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. An exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon firmly established it as one of the world’s leading quartets.

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