Historic String Quartets
Historic String Quartets are quartets that visited the Bay Area in the past, but that no longer exist.
Alban Berg Quartet (The ABQ)
Founded in Vienna, Austria, in 1970 and disbanded in 2008 soon after its lead violist died, this quartet was widely regarded as one of the best in the world. It was named after the composer, Alban Berg, won many awards, and recorded and traveled extensively. For a history of this famous quartet, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alban_Berg_Quartet
Budapest String Quartet
In existance from 1917 to 1967, the Budapest was one of the most famous quartets in the early half of the 20th Century. The quartet was founded in Hungary, went through several presonnel changes, migrated to the US during World War II, and ended up being made up of four Russians. The quartet had many famous recordings, and was, for awhile, the quartet in residence at Mills College in Oakland. While at Mills, in 1949, the Budapest joined with the Paganini Quartet to perform Daniel Milhaud's 14th and 15th string quartets, respectively, and then played the two pieces again as an octet. It was also the resident quartet at the Library of Congress for many years. For a detailed history of this quartet, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_String_Quartet
Founded in 1964 at the Marlboro Music School and Festival and disbanded in 2009. In its early years the quartet was located at Harpur College (SUNY Binghamton) in New York but was resident at the University of Maryland when they disbanded. The quartet won many prizes, recorded and toured. The Guarneri was well respected, at least in part because they produced two books that were quite popular -- Individible by Four, and The Art of Quartet Playing. For more information, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guarneri_Quartet
Founded in 1946 and retired in 1987, the LaSalle Quartet was the string quartet of the Uni. of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music for many years, was a leading advocate of the music of the Second Viennese School of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and made definitive recordings of their work. They are also credited with reviving interest in Zemlinsky. For a nice history of this quartet, read the book: The LaSalle Quartet: Conversations with Walter Levin by Robert Spruytenburg. (Boydell Press, 2014.)
The Lindsay String Quartet (The Lindsays)
The Lindsays were active between 1965 and 2005 when they retired. This famous British quartet was well known for its smooth performances, won many awards, and recorded and traveled extensively.
Tokyo String Quartet
Founded in 1970 by four Japanese musicians, this New York-based quartet won many award and is famous for its recordings of Beethoven. The Tokyo Quartet retired in 2013. For more information, see www.tokyoquartet.com
The Ysaye string quartet is a quartet founded in 1984 and was named after a famous early French quartet. They have announced their retirement for 2014. The Ysaye was the resident quartet at the Paris Conservatoire. They were famous for their recordings of the string quartets of Debussy and Ravel. Their official website, in French, is located at www.ysayerecords.com/home.html