The Emerson String Quartet to perform three concerts in Michigan as part of their farewell tour 

Emerson String Quartet

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Priya Mohan 
Communications Manager 


The Emerson String Quartet to perform three concerts in Michigan as part of their farewell tour 

DETROIT (April 11, 2023) — After a 47-year run, the Emerson String Quartet have announced the end of their time as an ensemble. Their farewell tour will take them across the country, including a stop at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in June 2023.  

Audiences can see them perform at Kirk in the Hills on June 20 and June 22, and at Seligman Performing Arts Center on June 24. 

The Emerson String Quartet’s legacy has changed the scope of American chamber music. A multi-Grammy Award-winning ensemble, they have made more than 30 recordings and have been honored with nine GRAMMYs® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” award. 

Two of its members, cellist Paul Watkins and violinist Philip Setzer, have played essential roles in the growth of the Festival. Watkins serves as the Festival’s artistic director, a role he took starting in 2013. Setzer directs the organization’s original educational endeavor called the Shouse Institute. In his role, he provides connections, mentorship and masterclass sessions for emerging ensembles 

“As members of America’s most storied chamber ensemble, Paul Watkins and Philip Setzer have amazing connections that stretch across the classical music world,” said Festival President Maury Okun. “Their reputations have greatly increased our visibility in the community of musicians and helped us introduce numerous exceptional performers to our audience.” 

The Emerson String Quartet is a regular performer at the Festival. In 2017, the group presented the world premiere of “Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy,” a theatrical exploration connecting Shostakovich’s struggle for artistic freedom in the Soviet Union and his desire to create an opera based on Anton Chekov’s “The Black Monk.” 

The quartet returned in 2019 to perform the Festival’s Beethoven String Quartet Cycle. This became one of the organization’s most well-attended festivals in history.  

In addition to performing in concerts, the Emerson String Quartet will host a masterclass for Shouse ensembles on June 21. This masterclass, called an Artistic Encounter, is open to the public and focuses on guiding Shouse ensembles on the path to professional careers. 

The 2023 Festival will run from June 10 to June 24, celebrating its 30-year anniversary. The theme for this year’s Festival, Turning Points, will commemorate this monumental turning point for the Emerson String Quartet and highlight essential moments in chamber music history.  

Tickets to the Festival are currently on sale and can be purchased at or by phone at 248-559-2097 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

About the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival 

The Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival was born in 1994 of a remarkable relationship between religious and cultural institutions. A secular event, the Festival is sponsored by three religious institutions (representing Catholic, Jewish and Protestant faiths) and Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, a prominent musical ensemble that is an administrative partner for the Festival. Traditionally, for two weeks each June, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival presents more than 20 concerts in southeastern Michigan. Many of these performances occur in the venues of the Festival’s sponsors — St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church, Temple Beth El and Kirk in the Hills.