On Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 8 p.m., Princeton University Concerts invites the Emerson String Quartet back to Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall to herald opening night of the 2015-16 season. After offering Shostakovich’s seldom-performed String Quartet No. 10, Op. 118 as preceded by Haydn’s ethereal “Sunrise” Quartet Op. 76, No. 4, the Emersons have summoned their young protégés, the Calidore String Quartet (making their Princeton debut), to join them for a rousing finale: the two quartets will unite to play Mendelssohn’s String Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20. The concert will be preceded by a talk given by Professor Scott Burnham at 7 p.m., free to ticketholders.
In the history of chamber music, the Emerson Quartet is truly unmatched; the ensemble lays claim to nine Grammy Awards, three Gramophone Awards, the coveted Avery Fisher Prize and more than 30 acclaimed recordings. Often considered to be the iconic American string quartet, they have been the jewels of American classical music for almost four decades.
This particular concert in Princeton makes their remarkable combination of “old and new” all the more prominent. The program places 18th century Haydn by the side of 20th century Shostakovich; though this year marks 190 years since the composition of Mendelssohn’s Octet, the work was written when the composer had just turned sixteen; and most notably, of course, the seasoned Emersons will share the stage with the quickly-rising young Calidores, whom they mentor.
Audiences will have a second chance to hear the Calidore String Quartet on their own later on in the season when they make their second PUC debut on the all-new PUC125 series.