The Emerson Quartet, founded in 1979, is about to have its first change of personnel in its 34-year history. Cellist David Finckel will leave the ensemble at the end of the 2012-13 season and his place will be taken by the British player, Paul Watkins.
Finckel, who is 60, is co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and of Music@Menlo. He also runs his own label, ArtistLed. Watkins, 42, combines his career as a cellist with that of conductor: he was appointed music director of the English Chamber Orchestra in 2009 and is principal guest conductor of the Ulster Orchestra. His Belfast contract concludes in the spring but he will continue to work with the ECO. He is also an exclusive Chandos artist with discs of Mendelssohn, Delius, Miklós Rózsa, Britten, Martinů, Tobias Picker and Richard Rodney Bennett to his name.
The Emerson Quartet, for over 30 years one of the cornerstones of the Deutsche Grammophon catalogue (and with whom they received three Gramophone Awards), recently signed a contract with Sony Classical for whom they have made their first disc – of Mozart's 'Prussian' Quartets.