17/18 Chamber Arts Series: Emerson String Quartet

17/18 Chamber Arts Series: Emerson String Quartet

Saturday, May 5 | 8 pm
$20 Ages 30 & Under
$10 Duke Students

Reserved Seating

Duke Performances 2017/18 season ticket packages — including the Pick-Four or More, Chamber Arts Series, Piano Recital Series, and Vocal Ensemble Series — will go on sale to the general public on TUESDAY, JUNE 20 at 11 AM. Single tickets to Duke Performances 2017/18 shows will go on sale TUESDAY, JULY 11 at 11 AM. Tickets will be available for purchase online, via phone at 919-684-4444, and in person at the Duke University Box Office, Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 6 PM.

Renewal deadlines for current subscribers for Duke Performances season ticket packages are as follows: Chamber Arts Series (Friday, April 21), Piano Recital Series (Friday, May 26), and Vocal Ensemble Series (Friday, May 26).


The Emerson String Quartet is, bar none, the most celebrated American string quartet in existence. With nine GRAMMY awards, a catalogue several dozen albums deep, an Avery Fisher Prize, and a fifty-two-disc Deutsche Grammophon box set to its name, the Emerson maintains what The Boston Globe once called “an extraordinary fusion of experience and authority with audacity and freshness.” In 2013, the Emerson added cellist Paul Watkins, its first personnel shift in more than three decades. The transition, as The New York Times noted, has been flawless.

In its third visit to Duke since that change, the Emerson links three essential twentieth-century quartets with the farewell of a master. They begin with Samuel Barber’s only complete quartet, op. 11, the devastating and beautiful precursor to his immortal Adagio for Strings. Though Anton Webern’s Six Bagatelles for String Quartet lasts just five minutes, its embrace of atonality and open-ended fragments was remarkable for its time. Béla Bartók’s riveting third quartet is as complex melodically as it is emotionally. The Emerson close the Chamber Arts Series with Beethoven’s Quartet No. 13, op. 130, whose alternate finale, penned to mitigate the shock of its initial closing fugue, is the last music he ever wrote.


Barber: String Quartet in B Major, op. 11
Webern: Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, op. 9
Bartók: String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85
Beethoven: String Quartet in B-flat Major, op. 130, with alternate finale