The Tokyo Quartet has announced that it will retire at the end of the 2012–13 season. Second violinist Kikuei Ikeda and violist Kazuhide Isomura had already said last November that they would be stepping down from the group in June 2013, leaving violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith with the task of finding replacements.

In a statement on the quartet's website, Beaver and Greensmith said that they had had 'no shortage of fine applicants' auditioning to join the quartet, but in the end they decided that the group should disband. Beaver said: 'It is a difficult prospect to replace one long-standing quartet member. To replace two of them simultaneously is a Herculean task. With the retirement of our colleagues in our minds, we increasingly felt over the last few months that the most fitting way we could honour and celebrate our quartet's long and illustrious career was to bring it to a graceful close.'

The Tokyo Quartet, which was founded in 1969, will also retire as Artists-in-Residence at the Yale School of Music, a position it has held since 1977. The quartet's final concert will take place at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in June 2013.