Some string quartets retire with grand farewell tours and big valedictory gestures. Others go out with a soft coda.
The Colorado Quartet, which is based in New York City, said on Tuesday that it will disband in May, quietly ending a 30-year history of tours, recordings and teaching residences.
The quartet is to give its final New York performance at Symphony Space on Feb. 28, with a program that includes the premiere of a new work by composer Tamar Muskal based on "Farewell Letters to the Beloved One" by Hanoch Levin, as well as Janáček's Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters."
The quartet, which arrived on the scene in 1982 as winner of both the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and first prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, was one of the first all-female quartets to gain significant stature.
The ensemble has changed membership over the years, though its second violinist, Deborah Lydia Redding, has been with the ensemble since its founding. "We, the members of the Quartet, are deeply grateful to audience, friends and family around the world who have supported us emotionally and fiscally," Redding said in a statement. "We have had many memorable and fabulous experiences during the course of our travels, and all agree that our time in the Colorado Quartet has been the most meaningful of our lives.”
The quartet members taught at Yale University for a period and also held residencies at a number of other schools and festivals.
In a 1995 appearance on WNYC's "Around New York" (above), Redding said that the quartet's name came from the fact that she grew up in Boulder, CO, and was involved with putting together a resident quartet at the University of Colorado. That ensemble subsequently went to the Juilliard School, "and the rest is history."