Violinist Philip Setzer, a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and began studying violin at the age of five with his parents, both former violinists in the Cleveland Orchestra. He continued his studies with Josef Gingold and Rafael Druian, and later at the Juilliard School with Oscar Shumsky. In 1976 received a Bronze Medal at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Brussels. He has appeared with the National Symphony, Aspen Chamber Symphony (David Robertson, conductor), Memphis Symphony (Michael Stern), New Mexico and Puerto Rico Symphonies (Guillermo Figueroa), Omaha and Anchorage Symphonies (David Loebel) and on several occasions with the Cleveland Orchestra (Louis Lane). He has also participated in the Marlboro Music Festival.
Currently serving as the Distinguished Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at SUNY Stony Brook and Visiting Faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Mr. Setzer has given master classes at schools around the world. Mr. Setzer is also the Director of the Shouse Institute, the teaching division of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit. Mr. Setzer has also been a regular faculty member of the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshops at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Center.
A versatile musician with innovative vision and dedication to keep the art form of the string quartet alive and relevant, Setzer is the mastermind behind the Emerson’s two highly praised collaborative theater productions: The Noise of Time, premiered at Lincoln Center in 2001 and directed by Simon McBurney, is a multi-media production about the life of Shostakovich; in 2016, Mr. Setzer teamed up with writer-director James Glossman and co-created the Emerson’s latest music/theater project, Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy. His instrument is made by Samuel Zygmuntowicz from Brooklyn, NY, 2011.