The Emerson String Quartet.

(Photo: Lisa Mazzucco)
The Emerson String Quartet makes regular appearances at Colorado’s summer music festivals, most recently performing an evening of music by Schubert and Beethoven at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

CPR Classical will air that concert at 7 p.m. Saturday as part of the SummerFest broadcast series. The program:

  • Beethoven: String Quartet in C-sharp minor, op. 131
  • Schubert: String Quartet in D minor, D. 810, “Death and the Maiden”

Violist Lawrence Dutton of the Emerson String Quartet.

(Photo: Lisa Mazzucco)
It’s an exciting time for the quartet, violist Lawrence Dutton told CPR Classical. The ensemble is working on recordings of music by Alban Berg and Benjamin Britten, and collaborating with Renee Fleming.

The group, which formed in 1976, is also settling in with new cellist Paul Watkins -- who made a solo appearance with the Colorado Symphony earlier this year -- who joined the quartet in 2013.

Click the audio above to hear the full interview with Dutton. 

Interview highlights: 

On Watkins’ quick learning process:

"We know a lot of fine, fine musicians. Paul is really extraordinary, really exceptional. … When he learns something, he learns it with the score and he comes in knowing the piece right away. That’s allowed us to learn, and relearn with him, an incredible amount of repertoire very quickly."

On looking forward to the quartet’s regular performances in Aspen:

"There’s nothing quite as wonderful for me as a summer out in Colorado. When you come from the east you appreciate it in a very big way -- not to have the humidity and the bugs."