The Emerson String Quartet, widely considered America’s most iconic string quartet, returns to Tucson in October to open the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music’s 2015-16 season.

The Friends is also charting new territory. For the first time in its 67-year history, the group is hosting a concert that will survey all of Beethoven’s original works for cello and piano in a single day. Cellist Sharon Robinson (Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio) and piano virtuoso Benjamin Hochman will perform the 4ƒ-hour concert on Jan. 31.

This will be the first time the Emerson, sans its founding cellist David Finckel, will play Tucson since it played a recital with UA Presents in 2012. The group’s last concert with the Friends was in 2008.

The Emerson Quartet anchors a season of quartets performing in the Friends’ Evening Series — held monthly from October through April. The Emerson is slated for Oct. 21.

The Zemlinsky Quartet with pianist Nikita Mndoyants is here Nov. 4, and the Escher Quartet performs Dec. 15. The Minguet Quartet with pianist Andreas Klein on Jan. 27, the Modigliani Quartet on Feb. 17 and the Jerusalem Quartet on April 13 round out the series.

Also coming next season:

Piano and Friends series: Pianist Denis Kozhukhin, Nov. 1; violinist Nikki Chooi and pianist Amy Yang, Jan. 17; cellist Istvan Vardai and pianist Julien Quentin, April 10.

23rd annual Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival: Pacifica Quartet anchors a lineup March 13-20 that includes bass player Volkan Orhon, composer Heather Schmidt and percussionist Matthew Strauss.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-43642. On Twitter @Starburch.

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.