After having the same four members for more than 30 years, the Emerson String Quartet announced this week it will swap cellists at the end of the 2012-2013 concert season.
Long-time member David Finckel is leaving the group to pursue his own artistic projects, the group and artists in residence at Stony Brook University announced on its website Tuesday.
"My colleagues of 33 years have been extremely understanding of my desire to pursue, with greater energy, my increasing number of performing, educational and presenting commitments that are independent of the quartet," he said.
Finckel will be replaced by Paul Watkins, a cellist who has performed with many major orchestras across the world and most recently was music director of the English Chamber Orchestra.
The Emerson Quartet is largely considered one of the most distinguished string quartets in the country.