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PUC Opens Season with Performance by Tak√°cs String Quartet & Meryl Streep September 19, 2014

August 27, 2014


Princeton University Concerts presents a very special event pairing the renowned Takács String Quartet and legendary actress Meryl Streep on Friday, September 19 at 7:30pm at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall.  These extraordinary artists come together to perform a program of words and music featuring readings from the great American writer Philip Roth's novella Everyman, interspersed with works for string quartet including Franz Schubert's Death and the Maiden, as well as music by Arvo Pärt. This unique collaboration between some of the most brilliant, creative and interpretive artists our time is happening only in Princeton. 

Please note:  all full-priced tickets are already sold out.  A limited number obstructed view seats will go on sale September 2 by phone only at 609-258-9220.

While reading Everyman -- described by The New York Times as a story about "a multi-divorced advertising man grappling with family estrangement, illness and death" -- Takács Quartet violinist Edward Dusinberre was struck by its "richly musical qualities." Dusinberre then conceived this inspired program, which has been performed only once before, with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman at Carnegie Hall. 

After hearing the original performance in 2007, PUC Director Marna Seltzer was deeply moved. Says Seltzer:

"The concert at Carnegie Hall has stuck with me as one of the most successful pairings of words and music I have ever experienced.  Roth's novella is such a powerful narrative on death and the music chosen by Ed Dusinberre adds an emotional component that brings even more depth to Roth's story. Since that night in 2007 I have asked the quartet repeatedly if they would consider replicating this project.  Last December, the quartet's manager, a colleague and a friend, contacted Mr. Roth about presenting it at Princeton and when I heard that he responded that 'he would love to do it at Princeton . . . with his friend Meryl Streep' -- let's just say I am not likely to ever forget that moment.  We are honored to be working with Meryl Streep and I cannot wait to see and hear what she brings to this project."

When asked why he chose Meryl Streep for this performance, Mr. Roth said:  "Of all our American acting marvels, she is the most profound.  To misappropriate a line from Othello, I would walk barefoot to Palestine to watch her perform."

PUC is collaborating with the Princeton Adult School to offer a class entitled Philip Roth's Everyman:  A discussion with Michael Wood and Philip Roth (via Skype) in advance of this concert.  Please see page 3 for details.

Edward Dusinberre, violin -- Károly Schranz, violin -- Geraldine Walther, viola - András Fejér, cello

Recognized as one of the world's great ensembles, the Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest.  It first received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics' Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. Since then, it has gone on to win dozens of prizes and this May the Takács Quartet became the first string quartet to win the Wigmore Hall Medal.  The Medal, inaugurated in 2007, recognizes major international artists who have a strong association with the Hall.  Recipients so far include pianist András Schiff, bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff and soprano Dame Felicity Lott.  Appointed in 2012 as the first-ever Associate Artists at Wigmore Hall, the Takács present six concerts every season there.  In 2012 Gramophone Magazine announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as violnist Jascha Heifetz, conductor Leonard Bernstein and mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker.  The Takács Quartet has a long association with Princeton University Concerts.  In October 2013, they opened the season playing the complete cycle of Bartók String Quartets, a project that was the highlight of PUC's 2013-14 season. 

For almost 40 years, Meryl Streep has portrayed an astonishing array of characters in a career that has cut its own unique path from the theater through film and television.

Ms. Streep was educated in the New Jersey public school system through high school, graduated cum laude from Vassar College, and received her MFA with honors from Yale University in 1975. She began her professional life on the New York stage, where she quickly established her signature versatility and verve as an actor. Within three years of graduation, she made her Broadway debut, won an Emmy (for Holocaust) and received her first Oscar nomination (for The Deerhunter). In 2013, in a record that is unsurpassed, she earned her eighteenth Academy Award nomination for her role as Violet Weston in August: Osage County.  Her performance also earned her a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nomination.  Streep will next be seen in Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman, The Weinstein Company's The Giver, Disney's Into the Woods and Suffragette alongside Carrie Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter. She is next set to begin production on Diablo Cody's Ricki and the Flash.

Ms. Streep last visited Princeton University in 2006 when she was invited to campus as the Belknap Visitor in the Humanities, a program that brings distinguished writers and artists to campus for one or two days to interact with students, faculty and members of the community.

Philip Roth is also a native of New Jersey, growing up in the Weequahic neighborhood of Newark.  Many of his books, including Everyman, take place in or around New Jersey. Mr. Roth, who taught creative writing at Princeton University from 1962-1964, first gained attention with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus and in 1997 he won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in

Fiction. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times, the first writer in its history to do so, as well as the PEN/Nabokov Award and the PEN/Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction. In 2005 Roth became the third living American writer to have his works published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America.  The last two of nine volumes were published in 2013. In 2011 he received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, and was later named the fourth recipient of the Man Booker International Prize. In 2012 he won Spain's highest honor, the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras, and in 2013 he received France's highest honor, Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur.

For further information please contact Catherine Ugolini at 609-258-6024 or
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WHAT:   Takács String Quartet and Meryl Streep

WHEN:   Friday, September 19, 2014 at 7:30pm
WHERE:  Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall

TICKETS: All full priced tickets are sold out.  We will be putting obstructed view seats on sale on September 2 by phone only          at 609-258-9220.

ADULT SCHOOL CLASS:  Philip Roth's Everyman:  A discussion with Michael Wood and Philip Roth (Mr. Roth and Takács violinist Edward Dusinberre will join the conversation via Skype).  Monday, September 15 & Tuesday, September 16 from 6:30 -- 8pm at Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall. Class:  $50; Class and Concert Ticket:  $85. Please call the Princeton Adult School at 609-683-1101 or visit to register.

PHOTOS: Please contact Catherine Ugolini at 609-258-6024 or or download at

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Dasha (Darya) Koltunyuk
Phone:  609-258-6024