Photo taken January 18, 2012 after an ESQ performance in Lyon, France.
On Tuesday, February 14th, it was announced that David Finckel would be be leaving the the Emerson Quartet at the end of the 2012-2013 season after more than thirty remarkable years. In this special blog post, David recounts his decision and discusses his thoughts on the Emerson Quartet and his own future.
In David’s words
During the past year, after much soul-searching, I came to the realization that it would be sensible to make the 2012-13 season my last in the Emerson Quartet. My colleagues of 33 years have been extremely understanding of my desire to pursue, with greater energy, my increasing number of performing, educational and presenting commitments that are independent of the quartet. My heart is warmed by the knowledge that Paul Watkins’ enormous gifts as a cellist and musician will fuel the Emerson’s onward journey with vibrant energy and fresh perspectives. I could not be happier to see him take my chair, nor can I wait to hear how marvelous the quartet will sound in its new incarnation. While I will forever treasure the rich network of friendships and experiences I have enjoyed as a member of the Emerson Quartet, I am equally excited for the opportunities which await me in the next chapter of my artistic and professional life.
I owe the bulk of my musical education to the Emerson Quartet, not only through the experience of learning so many great works, but also from the quartet’s rigorous pursuit of fidelity to each composer’s style. The Emerson’s unflagging commitment to a 100% effort for every performance, from big cities to small, remains for me the definitive example of being true to one’s art. Each individual in the quartet has always sought a higher level from himself in each successive performance, an expectation which is palpable to audiences and, I believe, has created for the Emerson that sense of perpetual quest which has enticed presenters the world over to bring the quartet back again and again.
The Emerson’s idea to perpetuate itself – a decision that was made by Philip, Eugene and Larry –I think is logical and tremendously exciting. It makes sense to view the work we have done over the last three decades as having significance and purpose larger than any of us as individuals. The Emerson’s accomplishments can not only be celebrated, but built upon. With the help of new personnel equally committed to the ideals that has built the quartet’s reputation, the quartet can be sustained and continue its artistic development.
The principles of performance practice which we inherited from our mentors are responsible for the Emerson’s successes across a wide range of music. I believe our adherence to those artistic values account for the quartet’s appeal to the vast majority of listeners worldwide. Pursuing innovation while remaining faithful to the composer, and holding ourselves to the instrumental standards set by the greatest players of all time, constitutes the Emerson’s artistic journey. It is a musical path with no end in sight.