The Juilliard String Quartet, one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles for the past half century, was formed in 1946, partly at the instigation of William Schuman, then president of The Juilliard School. It has been a feature of the Juilliard landscape ever since, giving master classes and concerts every year and serving as quartet-in-residence at the conservatory, where all its members are on the Juilliard faculty. In this capacity the group has shaped and influenced generations of string players. In addition to its regular concert appearances in the major performing venues of Europe, Asia, and North and South America, the Juilliard Quartet has since 1962 been quartet-in-residence at the Library of Congress. The group has given more than sixty premieres of new American works. It was the first ensemble to play Bartók’s quartets in the United States, and its performances of Schoenberg’s quartets in the 1950s helped rescue those works from obscurity. It has performed the work of Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt, and David Diamond, and its recording of the Debussy, Ravel, and Dutilleux quartets was selected by The Times of London as one of the 100 best classical CDs ever made. The ensemble’s other honors include membership in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, and Musicians of the Year (1996) from Musical America. The personnel on this recording are Joel Smirnoff and Ronald Copes, violins; Samuel Rhodes, viola; and Joel Krosnick, cello.
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