Violinist Kikuei Ikeda joined the quartet in 1974, five years after it was formed. He says that his acceptance by phone was the most momentous 5 seconds of his life. Along with the opportunity to play at the highest level on world stages, the decision required him to leave Japan to live in the United States for four decades.
The 43rd season of the Tokyo Quartet, which will be its last, brings with it the renewal of friendships and acquaintances, some of whom have special memories to share. The music has taken on an occasional sheen of nostalgia, especially in the powerful last quartet of Franz Schubert, described by Mr. Ikeda as "Brucknerian."