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September 14, 2011

Letters from Artists: David Finckel, for the Emerson String Quartet


All one has to do for the Emerson String Quartet is mention “Ann Arbor,” and vivid images arise, as we have been playing regularly for the University Musical Society since our earliest days. To a large extent, the places to which we have returned many times during our career are part of who and what we are.

From the Detroit Airport to the stage of Rackham Auditorium is a route as familiar as from my living to dining room: lunch at my favorite Lebanese restaurant near the airport; I-94 to the Ann Arbor exit; squeezing in the little tunnel under the hall; parking in the restricted space; the long tunnel to the double-sided green room, where tables are laden with photos to sign and the always-mind-blowing UMS season brochures; the little bells that count down to the concert; ascending the slightly-treacherous staircase to the left; squeezing through the small stage entrance while a stage attendant opens and disappears behind the door; and finally, the familiar warm welcome and intense listening of the discriminating and devoted UMS audience, ready to hear even our most challenging programs, and always rewarding us with hearty thanks.

The equally important part of the Ann Arbor experience is, of course, encountering director Ken Fischer, who seems ever more youthful in years and inspired in vision. To be a part of what UMS creates in Ann Arbor is, for us, to be part of something vastly larger than ourselves, which is seen around the country as an incomparable model of presenting and community service.  With its strong and clear mission, UMS should be around for a good long time, here to serve the children and grandchildren of the vibrant Ann Arbor community.  We wish Ken and his always-stellar team as much success as they can imagine, and more.

David Finckel is the cellist for the Emerson String Quartet.