Star quartet replaces viola

Star quartet replaces viola


norman lebrecht

October 09, 2019

The Takács Quartet, in its 45th year, has announced a lineup change. Violist Geraldine Walther will retire in May 2020 after 15 years.

Her replacement is Korean-American violist Richard O’Neill.

He will join founding cellist András Fejér, English #1 violinist Edward Dusinberre and American #2 violinist Harumi Rhodes.



  • Music Lover says:

    Richard O’Neill is a wonderful violist! Takacs is lucky to have found the right fit!

  • Wishing all best wishes – such wonderful musicians. So many wonderful recordings over the years. Happy retirement to Geraldine / congratulations to Richard!

  • Terence says:

    One has to wonder when a quartet (or trio) ceases to exist in all but name.

    When only two original members are left? When only one is?

    The Borodin Quartet is a case in point: they are a very fine quartet (and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing them twice) but no original members remain.

    I think it’s different for an orchestra with its many members and changes overlapping often thus preserving a continuity.

    • Stuart says:

      It’s an interesting thought. I am not sure what is meant by continuity in this context. There are too many variables in addition to the member changes. Take the New York Philharmonic. Founded in 1842 and there have been 30+ music directors. No original members remain. The music has changed and how players play has changed. The NY Phil of today certainly doesn’t play like the orchestra of the 1840’s, and so much of the repertoire is different. As is the hall they play in, and the audience. Not sure I see how continuity comes into it.

  • Pauker says:

    My favorite quartet and may I recommended Dusinberre’s wonderful book.. BEETHOVEN FOR A LATER AGE.

  • Have just been listening to the group’s wonderful 2008 recordings of Brahms’s First and Third Quartets.

    These were made with Geraldine Walther in Bristol for Hyperion, with the mikes right on the axis between first violin and cello, where no ears would ever be but where there is great illumination. One couldn’t ask for a more persuasive case for the convoluted but still fresh C-Minor work. And the confident, pastoral, slyly humorous B-flat quartet, written in 1874, only a year after the First was finally settled, is perfect.

    I heard the Takács regularly during their Washington residency nearly thirty years ago, so it has been a CD pleasure to catch up with them sounding just as tight, smart, and probing in 2008, with Walther as the fullest of partners.

    The group has evolved slowly and with success at each juncture, a model really. One must hope that the two newest members bring enough “personality” to sustain the achievement.

  • Michael Turner says:

    I have heard the Takacs twice live in the last 2 years and they are a wonderful group. But for me the stand out player has to be the wonderful new 2nd violin Harumi Rhodes- such energy and talent. I have no doubt that the new viola player will add another dimension to this inspirational ensemble. I look forward to hearing them all again.