Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu


Concert on April 10 to feature U.S. premiere of
Lawrence Dillon’s String Quartet No. 5

WINSTON-SALEM – The acclaimed Emerson String Quartet will perform next week on the campus of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).

The Emerson, which has been called “America’s greatest quartet” by Time magazine, won its ninth Grammy Award in January for Best Chamber Music Performance for “Intimate Letters,” a Deutsche Grammophon recording.

The performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10, in Watson Chamber Music Hall located on the UNCSA campus, 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. For tickets, call the UNCSA Box Office at 336-721-1945 or visit www.uncsa.edu/performances to purchase tickets online.

Emerson String Quartet

The centerpiece of the program will be the U.S. premiere of UNCSA School of Music Assistant Dean Lawrence Dillon’s String Quartet No. 5: Through the Night. The work was commissioned by the Emerson String Quartet in honor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Dillon’s fifth quartet is a set of variations on the Welsh melody All Through the Night in four movements: Variations, Chaconne, Passacaglia and Fantasy Variations. The Emerson Quartet premiered the piece to a tumultuous response in Cologne, Germany, on March 9.

Other works on the program will include Schubert’s Quartet in E-Flat Major, D. 87, and Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 14 in A-Flat Major, Op. 105.

From 4 to 5 p.m. on the day of the concert, Dillon will be joined by quartet members Eugene Drucker and Lawrence Dutton in Watson Hall for a preview of the evening’s program. The event will be hosted by one of the nation’s most distinguished concert presenters, Welz Kauffman, CEO of the Ravinia Festival. The talk, which is open to the public, will feature insights into the composer’s creative process as well as a peek at a world-class ensemble’s approach to preparing the premiere of a new work.

The same day, other members of the quartet will be working with UNCSA students. Cellist David Finckel will teach a master class and violinist Philip Setzer will coach chamber music at 2:30 p.m.

The Emerson String Quartet stands alone in the history of string quartets with an unparalleled list of achievements over three decades: 30 acclaimed recordings produced with Deutsche Grammophon since 1987; nine Grammy Awards (including two for Best Classical Album, an unprecedented honor for a chamber music group); three Gramophone Awards; the coveted Avery Fisher Prize; and cycles of the complete Beethoven, Bartók, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich string quartets in the world's musical capitals, from New York to London to Vienna. The quartet has collaborated in concerts and on recordings with some of the greatest artists of our time. After more than 32 years of extensive touring and recording, the Emerson Quartet continues to perform with the same benchmark integrity, energy and commitment that it has demonstrated since it was formed in 1976.

The 2009-2010 season comprises more than 90 worldwide engagements, with a three-concert series at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s South Bank Centre; two concerts at Wigmore Hall; and performances in Prague and at the Edinburgh International Festival. European tours feature multiple stops in Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and France. North American engagements are highlighted by a three-concert series entitled “Adventures in Bohemia” in the recently renovated Alice Tully Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center. A correlated 3-CD set for Deutsche Grammophon of Dvořák’s late quartets, Cypresses, and the viola quintet will be released in 2010. Additional concerts include Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Diego, Boston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Houston, Salt Lake City, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, among others. In 2010, the Emerson embarks on a rare tour of Asia, visiting Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taipei. The quartet continues its residency at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., now in its 30th sold-out season.

The Emerson is quartet-in-residence at Stony Brook University, where, in addition to a concert series, teaching and chamber music coaching throughout the academic year, it has conducted intensive string quartet workshops in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The quartet has also overseen three professional training workshops at Carnegie’s Weill Music Institute. In the 2006-2007 season, Carnegie Hall invited the Emerson to present its own “Perspectives” series, a nine-concert exploration titled Beethoven in Context, held in Isaac Stern Auditorium. No other quartet has had the opportunity to present such an expansive series at Carnegie. In March 2004 the Emerson was named the 18th recipient of the Avery Fisher prize – another first for a chamber ensemble.

Formed in 1976, the Emerson String Quartet took its name from the great American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer alternate in the first chair position and are joined by violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist David Finckel. The quartet is based in New York City.

Composer Lawrence Dillon has produced an extensive body of work, from brief solo pieces to a full-length opera. Although he lost 50 percent of his hearing in a childhood illness, he began composing as soon as he started piano lessons at the age of seven.   In 1985, he became the youngest composer to earn a doctorate at The Juilliard School, and was shortly thereafter appointed to the Juilliard faculty. Dillon is now composer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he has served as music director of the Contemporary Ensemble, assistant dean of performance, and interim dean of the School of Music. He was the Featured American Composer in the February 2006 issue of Chamber Music magazine.

Dillon's music, in the words of American Record Guide, is "lovely...austere...vivid and impressive." His works are recorded by Albany Records, Channel Crossings and CRS, and published by American Composers Editions. In the past year, he has had commissions from the Emerson String Quartet, the Cassatt String Quartet, the Mansfield Symphony, the Boise Philharmonic, the Salt Lake City Symphony, the Daedalus String Quartet, the University of Utah and the Idyllwild Symphony Orchestra. Three discs of his music are due out in 2010 on the Bridge, Albany and Naxos labels.

This performance of the Emerson String Quartet is made possible through the generosity of Bill and Judy Watson of Winston-Salem.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of the Arts”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from middle school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. Internationally renowned conductor John Mauceri has been chancellor of UNCSA since 2006. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.