Thursday, March 17, 2022 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue InformationSan Francisco
About This Performance
One of the world’s most prodigious and popular quartets, the Takács Quartet has thrilled audiences with its vitality and energy for more than four decades. “The quartet members, individually, in pairs or joyfully together, bring a perfect balance of individual understanding and ensemble cohesion,” according to Bachtrack. “Fleet-fingered accordionist” (Detroit Free Press) Julien Labro makes a delightfully welcome return to SF Performances.
BRYCE DESSNER: Circles
LABRO: Meditation No. 1
J.S. BACH: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 (arr. Labro)
RAVEL: String Quartet in F Major
The world-renowned Takács Quartet, is now entering its forty-seventh season. Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola) and András Fejér (cello) are excited to bring to fruition several innovative projects for the 2021–2022 season. With bandoneon/accordion virtuoso Julien Labro, the group will perform throughout the U.S.A. new works composed for them by Clarice Assad and Bryce Dessner. This season also marks the world premiere of a new quartet written for the Takács by Stephen Hough, Les Six Rencontres. The Takács will record this extraordinary work for Hyperion Records, in combination with quartets by Ravel and Dutilleux.
During the last year, the Takács marked the arrival of Grammy-award-winning violist, Richard O’Neill by making two new recordings for Hyperion. Quartets by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Felix Mendelssohn will be released in the Fall of 2021, followed in 2022 by a disc of Haydn’s Op. 42, 77 and 103.
The Takács Quartet continues its role in 2021–2022 as Associate Artists at London’s Wigmore Hall, performing four concerts there this season. In addition to many concerts in the U.K., the ensemble will play at prestigious European venues including the Paris Philharmonie, Berlin Konzerthaus, and Teatro Della Pergola, Florence. The Takács will perform throughout North America, including concerts in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Princeton, Ann Arbor, Berkeley, San Francisco, Philadelphia,Vancouver, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Portland.
In June 2020 the Takács Quartet was featured in the BBC television series Being Beethoven. The ensemble’s 2019 CD for Hyperion of piano quintets by Amy Beach and Elgar, with pianist Garrick Ohlsson won a Presto Classical Recording of the Year.
In 2014 the Takács became the first string quartet to be awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal. The Medal, inaugurated in 2007, recognizes major international artists who have a strong association with the Hall. Recipients include Andras Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Menahem Pressler and Dame Felicity Lott. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the first string quartet to be inducted into its Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
The Takács Quartet is known for innovative programming. The ensemble performed a program inspired by Philip Roth’s novel Everyman with Meryl Streep at Princeton in 2014, and again with her at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2015. They first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. They have toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, collaborate regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas, and in 2010 they collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and David Lawrence Morse on a drama project that explored the composition of Beethoven’s last quartets.
The Takács records for Hyperion Records, and their releases for that label include string quartets by Haydn, Schubert, Janáček, Smetana, Debussy and Britten, as well as piano quintets by César Franck and Shostakovich (with Marc-André Hamelin), Amy Beach and Elgar (with Garrick Ohlsson) and viola quintets by Brahms and Dvorák (with Lawrence Power). For their CDs on the Decca/London label, the Quartet has won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy Award, three Japanese Record Academy Awards, Disc of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Ensemble Album of the Year at the Classical Brits.
Based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, the members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows. The Quartet has helped to develop a string program with a special emphasis on chamber music, where students work in a nurturing environment designed to help them develop their artistry. Through the university, two of the quartet’s members benefit from the generous loan of instruments from the Drake Instrument Foundation. The members of the Takács are on the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where they run an intensive summer string quartet seminar, and Visiting Fellows at the Guildhall School of Music, 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. In 2001 the members of the the Takács Quartet were awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary, and in March 2011 the Order of Merit Commander’s Cross by the President of the Republic of Hungary.
Heralded as “the next accordion star,” Julien Labro has established himself as the foremost accordion and bandoneón player in both the classical and jazz genres. Deemed to be “a triple threat: brilliant technician, poetic melodist and cunning arranger,” his artistry, virtuosity, and creativity as a musician, composer and arranger have earned him international acclaim and continue to astonish audiences worldwide.
Picking up the accordion at 9, French-born Labro’s earliest inﬂuence was traditional folk music and the melodic, lyrical quality of the French chanson. After graduating from the Marseille Conservatory and sweeping first prize in many international accordion competitions, Labro moved to the United States to further pursue his musical dream.
Equipped with advanced degrees in classical music, jazz studies, and composition, Labro draws from his diverse background and eclectic musical influences in his search for new themes and untried concepts, evolving and developing his ideas into new projects.
Labro has worked with numerous symphonies, chamber ensembles and collaborators around the world. His albums and busy performance schedule is a testament of his musical journey.