Hungary honors CU's Takács Quartet
By Wes Blomster
Camera Classical Music Writer
The Takács Quartet, resident ensemble at the University of Colorado since 1983, has been awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.
The award, made by Hungarian President Lászl Slyom, was announced by H. E. György Szapáry, Ambassador of the Republic of Hungary to the United States on March 15, Hungary's national holiday.
The richly decorated emblem will be presented to each Takács member at a concert at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
"The award is a complete surprise," said Károly Schranz, Hungarian-born charter second violinist in the ensemble. "It came out of the blue. And it is wonderful that Hungary does not forget us – even if we no longer live there."
The Takács, founded in Budapest in 1975, has been in residence at CU since 1983. The group emigrated to the U.S. in 1986; it last performed in Hungary in 2003.
Cellist András Fejér was also a founding member of the Takács, whose current membership includes English-born first violinist Edward Dusinberre and American violist Geraldine Walther.
"Ed and Geri are enthusiastic about the award," Schranz says.
Although not mentioned in the award, Schranz suspects that the Takács' commitment to the six quartets of Hungary's Bèla Bartk might have been a factor in making it.
The Takács recorded the Bartk and has recently performed cycles of the quartets in London and New York. A further cycle is scheduled for Australia in April.
"If we play 80 concerts in a season, Bartók is on 60 of them," Schranz said.
Previous recipients of the Commander's Cross include the late Hungarian-born conductor Georg Solti and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich.