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ARTIST PROFILE

Guarneri String Quartet

LINKS AND RESOURCES

BIOGRAPHY

Arnold Steinhardt, Violin
John Dalley, Violin
Michael Tree, Viola
Peter Wiley, Cello

The renowned Guarneri String Quartet has circled the globe countless times since it was formed in 1964, playing in the world's most prestigious halls in North and South America, Mexico, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The 2003-2004 season found the Guarneri celebrating their 40th Anniversary by touring extensively throughout North America and Europe. They also celebrated through their annual Metropolitan Museum of Art six-concert series, instituted in 1965, by performing a Beethoven cycle, and they continue their longstanding series and residency at the University of Maryland. Founding cellist David Soyer joined his former colleagues to play Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major, D. 956 on several occasions as part of this special season. In addition, the Quartet was awarded Chamber Music America’s highest honor, the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, for their lifetime of service and achievement in the field. In Spring 2004, the Quartet performed the world premiere of String Quartet No. 5 (in search of "La Vita Nova") written for the Quartet by the award-winning American composer Richard Danielpour. As further celebration of their 40 years of music-making, the Quartet will present a special birthday program in April 2005 at Alice Tully Hall to be accompanied by related lectures, seminars, master classes, and panel discussions at Lincoln Center.

In addition to mastering the finest works in the existing quartet repertoire, the Guarneri String Quartet is committed to performing and popularizing works by today’s foremost composers. In the 2001-2002 season, the Guarneri gave the first performances of String Quartet #5, written for them by Lukas Foss. The National Symphony Orchestra commissioned a concerto for string quartet and orchestra, written expressly for the Guarneri String Quartet by Richard Danielpour. The NSO and the Guarneri, under the direction of Leonard Slatkin, gave premiere performances of Voices of Remembrance at the Kennedy Center on January 13,14, and 15, 2000, and in New York at Carnegie Hall on January 25, 2000.

The Quartet has been featured on many television and radio specials, documentaries and educational presentations both in North America and abroad. They have been interviewed by Charles Kuralt on CBS’ nationwide television program, "Sunday Morning." A full-length film entitled "High Fidelity — The Guarneri String Quartet" was released nationally, to great critical and public acclaim, in the fall of 1989. (The film was directed and produced by Allan Miller who was also the director/producer of the Academy Award-winning documentary, "From Mozart to Mao," which dealt with Isaac Stern’s visit to China). The quartet is also the subject of various books including Quartet by Helen Drees Ruttencutter (Lippincott & Crowell, 1980), The Art of Quartet Playing: the Guarneri in Conversation with David Blum (Alfred A. Knopf, 1986) and Arnold Steinhardt’s Indivisible by Four: A String Quartet in Pursuit of Harmony (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998).

In 1982, Mayor Koch presented the Quartet with the first New York Seal of Recognition. The Quartet was awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees by the University of South Florida (1976) and the State University of New York (1983). In 1992, the Guarneri String Quartet became the only quartet to receive the prestigious Award of Merit from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in New York City. The Quartet is also on the faculty of the University of Maryland.

The Guarneri String Quartet currently records for Surrounded by Entertainment, which released its first CD in Spring 2001 of Quartets by Ravel, Debussy and Fauré. Several of its recordings on both RCA Red Seal and Philips have won international awards, including its recent recording of Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga’s String Quartet nos. 1-3 (Philips), which won the 1996 Deutsche Schallplattenkritik Award in Germany. Among its other award-winning recordings are collaborations with such artists as Artur Rubinstein, Pinchas Zukerman; and Boris Kroyt and Mischa Schneider of the Budapest Quartet. They have also recorded for the Arabesque label, Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 3 and its first ever recording of the great Mendelssohn Octet, Op. 20, in collaboration with the Orion Quartet.