After playing more than 40 years together, earning accolades including: the Grand Prix du Disque, “Best Chamber Music Recording of the Year,” Stereo Review and Gramophone awards, as well as seven Grammy nominations, Tokyo String Quartet has officially announced their retirement at the end of the 2012-2013 season.
The quartet first formed in 1969 at Julliard, the founding members having attended the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, where they drew their initial inspiration for the quartet. The Tokyo approach to music focuses on emphasizing the overall group unity, rather than providing a platform for individual virtuoso players to try and outdo one another. Introducing this style to Western music, Tokyo String Quartet rapidly rose in status throughout the classical music world.
Over the years, the quartet has collaborated with highly acclaimed artists and composers, produced over 40 recordings, and served as quartet-in-residence on the faculty of Yale School of Music. Performing over one hundred concerts each season, the quartet continues to dazzle audiences worldwide.
After the quartet announced the retirement of members, Kikuei Ikeda (violin) and Kazuhide Isomura (viola) in 2011, fellow Tokyo member Clive Greensmith (cello) soon stated that, “It is a difficult prospect to replace one long-standing quartet member. To replace two of them simultaneously is a Herculean task.” The musicians ultimately decided that the finest way to pay respect to the quartet was by bringing it to a close, with Martin Weaver (violin) and Greensmith agreeing to endeavor upon individual performance and teaching pursuits.
On Tuesday, July 24, Tokyo String Quartet will be returning to the Ravinia stage for yet another remarkable performance in their highly cherished, final season.