The Emerson String Quartet has announced that it will retire as an ensemble at the end of summer 2023.


The American quartet is due to retire 47 years after it was initially formed at The Juilliard School when its members were students there in 1976.

The ensemble's four members – Eugene Drucker, Philip Setzer, Lawrence Dutton and Paul Watkins – will continue to work together to coach and mentor young ensembles through its Emerson String Quartet Institute at Stony Brook University. Cellist David Finckel, who was a member of the group for 34 years, will continue his work with the Emersons in this capacity. The musicians will continue to perform as individual artists.

'Now, as we contemplate our future careers, which will afford us the opportunity to continue performing as individuals and to pass the fruits of our experience on to younger generations of chamber players, we also wish to express our gratitude to all the instrumentalists, singers, composers, actors and directors with whom we have been honoured to collaborate,' says Eugene Drucker, one of the ensemble's founding members.

Before its retirement next year, the quartet has planned a six-city tour of Europe in March 2022, culminating in a Shostakovich cycle at London's Southbank Centre, spread across three concerts.


Read our Emerson String Quartet reviews here.


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.