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Takacs Quartet holds their instruments outside
After a sold out appearance last year, audience favorite The Takács Quartet returns to BroadStage with an exquisite program of Haydn, Beethoven, and a newly commissioned work from LA native and accomplished violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama as part of the California Festival. Ngwenyama’s “Flow,” composed for Takács Quartet, is a meditation on the theme of climate change. The composer says, “We, as biological creatures, flow through life. Conversely, the flow of existence is temporarily housed in all living creatures each generation. Everything in nature flows and develops through time. Individual consciousness is a small part of all collectively lived experience. When The Takács Quartet asked me to write them a piece about the natural world, I researched seasonal starling murmurations, black hole collisions, protein music (convertine protein sequences or genes to musical notes), Sars-Covid-2 Omicron and “Kraken” variants, peat fields as nature’s gift to carbon reclamation, and Madagascar lemur song and rhythms.”  

Known for innovative programming and virtuosic musicianship, The Takács Quartet has been described as “one of the world’s greatest string quartets” by The New York Times. As they enter their 49th season of live performance, this special evening of music is in celebration of the collaborative and innovative spirit that thrives in California. 

Gramophone proclaims Nokothula Ngwenyama as “providing solidly shaped music of bold mesmerizing character.” She gained international prominence winning the Primrose International Viola Competition at 16 and has since crafted a career as a  soloist with orchestras around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center, Japan's Suntory Hall, the Louvre, and the White House. She is an alumna of Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, CA, and the Colburn School and attended the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris as a Fulbright Scholar. She also has a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University. She is a past president of the American Viola Society and director of the Primrose International Viola Competition.


About the Festival

The California Festival is a two-week, statewide festival of new music from around the world, showcasing today’s most compelling and forward-looking voices in performances of over 200 works written within the past five years.

The California Festival will take place November 3-19, 2023, and brings together organizations and ensembles from throughout the state of California including symphony orchestras, chamber music groups, jazz ensembles, choirs, and more, all performing new music. California Festival Music Directors are Gustavo Dudamel, Rafael Payare, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.  


Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)

String Quartet No. 63 in B-flat Major, Op. 76, No.4, “Sunrise” Hob.III:78 

    1. Allegro con spirito
    2. Adagio
    3. Menuetto
    4. Finale


Nokuthula NGWENYAMA (b. 1976) 


    1. Prelude
    2. Adagio
    3. Quark Scherzo
    4. Finale




Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)    

String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2, “Razumovsky”         

    1. Allegro
    2. Molto adagio
    3. Allegretto
    4. Finale


"Flow" is co-commissioned by BroadStage (Santa Monica, CA), Cal Performances (Berkeley, CA), Friends of Chamber Music (Portland, OR), Shriver Hall Concert Series (Baltimore, MD), Boston Celebrity Series, 92nd Street Y (New York, NY) Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Capital Region Classical (Schenectady, NY), University Musical Society, (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

" of the world’s greatest string quartets..."

– The New York Times

To watch the video with audio descriptions click here.

The world-renowned Takács Quartet is now entering its forty-ninth season. Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola) and András Fejér (cello) are excited about the 2023-2024 season that features varied projects including a new work written for them. Nokuthula Ngwenyama composed ‘Flow’ as a meditation on the theme of climate change. The work was commissioned by nine concert presenters throughout the USA. September sees the release of a new recording of works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Dvořák for Hyperion Records, while later in the season the quartet will release works by Schubert including his final quartet in G major. In the Spring of 2024 the ensemble will perform and record piano quintets by Price and Dvořák with long-time chamber music partner Marc-Andre Hamelin.

As Associate Artists at London’s Wigmore Hall the Takács will perform four concerts featuring works by Hough, Price, Janacek, Schubert and Beethoven. During the season the ensemble will play at other prestigious European venues including Berlin, Geneva, Linz, Innsbruck, Cambridge and St. Andrews. The Takács will appear at the Adams Chamber Music Festival in New Zealand. The group’s North American engagements include concerts in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Vancouver, Ann Arbor, Phoenix, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Portland, Cleveland, Santa Fe and Stanford. The ensemble will perform two Bartók cycles at San Jose State University and Middlebury College and appear for the first time at the Virginia Arts Festival with pianist Olga Kern.

The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Fellows and Artists in Residence at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For the 23-24 season the quartet enter into a partnership with El Sistema Colorado, working closely with its chamber music education program in Denver. During the summer months the Takács join the faculty at the Music Academy of the West, running an intensive quartet seminar.

In 2021 the Takács won a Presto Music Recording of the Year Award for their recordings of string quartets by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, and a Gramophone Award with pianist Garrick Ohlsson for piano quintets by Amy Beach and Elgar. Other releases for Hyperion feature works by Haydn, Schubert, Janáček, Smetana, Debussy and Britten, as well as piano quintets by César Franck and Shostakovich (with Marc-André Hamelin), and viola quintets by Brahms and Dvorák (with Lawrence Power). For their CDs on the Decca/London label, the Quartet has won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy Award, three Japanese Record Academy Awards, Disc of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Ensemble Album of the Year at the Classical Brits. Full details of all recordings can be found in the Recordings section of the Quartet's website.

The Takács Quartet is known for its innovative programming. In 2021-22 the ensemble partnered with  bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro to premiere new works by Clarice Assad and Bryce Dessner, commissioned by Music Accord. In 2014 the Takács performed a program inspired by Philip Roth’s novel Everyman with Meryl Streep at Princeton, and again with her at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2015. They first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. They have toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, and played regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas.

In 2014 the Takács became the first string quartet to be awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the first string quartet to be inducted into its Hall of Fame. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, while all four were students. The group received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics’ Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The Quartet also won the Gold Medal at the 1978 Portsmouth and Bordeaux Competitions and First Prizes at the Budapest International String Quartet Competition in 1978 and the Bratislava Competition in 1981. The Quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982. Members of the Takács Quartet are the grateful beneficiaries of an instrument loan by the Drake Foundation.

Classical Series Sponsor:

Colburn Foundation