"The group remains one of the best chamber ensembles, not merely precise but expressive and intelligent to the last ounce." OC Register

First Australian tour in over 19 years

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Emerson String Quartet

7 Sep - 21 Sep 2019

2019 international concert season

Perhaps the most celebrated string quartet ever to emerge from the USA, the Emerson String Quartet is making its first Australian tour in over 19 years. Founded in 1976 and with only one personnel change in all that time, the ensemble has stacked up more than 30 recordings and countless awards. With such a pedigree, it is no surprise that the Emersons play with masterly warmth and ease: a spontaneous confidence and joy. 

Naturally enough, a master string quartet has chosen to play two programs of great masterpieces. Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven were writing with their audience very much in mind, and their quartets are full of attention-grabbing highlights and dreamy slow movements, while the vitality of folk music shapes the quartets of Dvořák and Bartók. Shostakovich’s Fifth Quartet did not appear until after the death of Stalin, when its icy, wintry darkness could at last be safely brought into the light.

Eugene Drucker violin
Philip Setzer violin
Lawrence Dutton viola
Paul Watkins cello 

View the concert guide.

Please note that violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer alternate in the first violin chair.


Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne Weekday, Perth, Sydney Weekday

MOZART String Quartet no 21 in D major, K575 - Philip Setzer
DVOŘÁK String Quartet no 10 in E-flat major, op 51 - Eugene Drucker
SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet no 5 in B-flat major, op 92 - Philip Setzer


Brisbane, Melbourne Weekend, Newcastle, Sydney Weekend

HAYDN String Quartet in D major, op 71 no 2 - Eugene Drucker
BARTÓK String Quartet in B flat major, no 5 - Eugene Drucker
BEETHOVEN String Quartet no 8 in E minor, op 59 no 2 ‘Razumovsky’ - Philip Setzer

Presented in association with Brisbane Festival. Tour supported by the Musica Viva Amadeus Society.

Join us at every concert for exclusive experiences including pre-concert talks to enhance your concert experience, as well as the chance to meet your favourite artists.


Prior to the concert, join fellow music lovers in this fascinating pre-concert talk and discover some of the intricate moments within the concert program.

Sydney 7 Sep – 1.15pm, Function Room Level 1
Sydney 9 Sep – 6.15pm, Function Room Level 1
Newcastle 10 Sep – 6.45pm, Conservatorium Room 102 (follow the signs)
Perth 12 Sep – 6.45pm, Corner Stage Riverside, Terrace level
Melbourne 14 Sep – 6.15pm Boardroom, Level 2
Canberra 16 Sep - 6.15pm, Athenaeum (Foyer)
Melbourne 17 Sep - 6.15pm, Boardroom, Level 2
Adelaide 19 Sep - 6.45pm, Prince Alfred Room
Brisbane 21 Sep – 6.30pm, Boardroom

CD Signing

Immediately following the performance, CDs will be available for purchase, which the group will be happy to sign.

Perth 12 Sep – Post concert, Foyer
Canberra 16 Sep - Post concert, Athenaeum (Foyer) 
Melbourne 17 Sep - Post concert, Foyer
Adelaide 19 Sep - Post concert, Foyer
Brisbane 21 Sep – Post concert, Foyer


Immediately following the performance, join the Emerson Quartet for an entertaining and light-hearted Meet the Artist session. Come with any questions you may have! 

Sydney 9 Sep – Post concert, Function Room Level 1
Newcastle 10 Sep – Post concert, onstage
Melbourne 14 Sep – Post concert, Foyer
Canberra 16 Sep - Post concert, Athenaeum (Foyer) 


Attend a Musica Viva Masterclass and witness talented young music students being mentored by the world's finest chamber musicians. These sessions offer a unique perspective on music interpretation, technique and performance. The masterclass program provides students, music teachers and audiences of all ages with an entertaining and enriching learning experience.


Masterclass with Eugene Drucker - Violin, Emerson String Quartet
Monday 9 September, 11am
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
1 Conservatorium Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
Book here


Masterclass with Lawrence Dutton - Viola, Emerson String Quartet
Thursday 12 September, 10am
Callaway Auditorium
University of Western Australia, Conservatorium of Music
35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley WA 6009
Book here


Masterclass with Philip Setzer, Violin - Emerson String Quartet
Sunday 15 September, 10.30am
Australian National Academy of Music
South Melbourne Town Hall, 210 Bank St, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Sold out


Masterclass with Paul Watkins, Cello - Emerson String Quartet
Saturday 21 September, 10am
Ian Hanger Recital Hall
Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University
140 Grey St, South Brisbane QLD 4101

Tickets for sale at the door: $20 general admission/$5 students at the door. Free for Con students (ID required)


In Conversation with the Emerson String Quartet

"I’ll take the verb ‘conquer’ at its most metaphorical. We don’t conquer, we tackle, we try to rise to the challenges."

Barney Zwartz speaks with Eugene Drucker of the Emerson String Quartet ahead of their Australian tour. Read the interview here.

Carl Vine introduces the Emerson String Quartet.

Event Dates

  • Sydney 07 Sep 2019 2:00 PM
  • Sydney 09 Sep 2019 7:00 PM
  • Newcastle 10 Sep 2019 7:30 PM
  • Perth 12 Sep 2019 7:30 PM
  • Melbourne 14 Sep 2019 7:00 PM
  • Canberra 16 Sep 2019 7:00 PM
  • Melbourne 17 Sep 2019 7:00 PM
  • Adelaide 19 Sep 2019 7:30 PM
  • Brisbane 21 Sep 2019 7:00 PM

Buy Single Tickets or Subscribe to as few as 3 concerts for great savings and the best seats. 

Under 40's and Family tickets are available for this event. Learn more here.

Avoid booking fees and book through Musica Viva Box Office, either online or by phone on 1800 688 482 (M-F, 9am-5pm AEDT)

Please note that booking made through venues or ticketing agencies may incur extra charges.

Learn more about the venues where these concerts will be held.