The news comes as a bit of a shock. Only a few months ago the quartet announced it would be replacing retiring violist Kazuhide Isomura and second violinist Kikuei Ikeda with new players.
Yet all of these theories strike me as unlikely, in varying degrees.
Personally, I like to think that the quartet, founded in 1969, decided to pack it in because they realized that any new configuration that didn’t include any of the original members just wouldn’t be the Tokyo Quartet. (I hammered on this point in a blog back in November, which you can read here.)
If so, their decision is a triumph of artistic integrity over marketing expedience – and I applaud them for it.
I’m tempted to add something about hoping the individual members of the quartet will continue to have active careers in chamber music. But I’m sure that’s hardly necessary.
© Colin Eatock 2012