David Finckel, cellist of the Emerson String Quartet, has announced he will be leaving the ensemble at the end of the 2012-2013 season.
Finckel (left) will be succeeded in the role by Welsh cellist and conductor Paul Watkins.
Finckel and the other Emerson players – Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violinists, and Lawrence Dutton, violist – have played together since 1979, and this is the first change to the quartet’s membership in 34 years. During this time the group has produced more than 30 recordings and won nine Grammy Awards.
Finckel said: ‘During the past year, after much soul searching, I came to the realisation that it would be sensible to make the 2012-13 season my last in the Emerson String Quartet.
‘My heavy heart is warmed by the knowledge that Paul Watkins’s enormous gifts as a cellist and musician will fuel the Emerson’s onward journey with vibrant energy and fresh perspectives.’
Finckel plans to devote more time to his other performing, teaching, and presenting commitments after his departure.