The original personnel of the group were as follows:
The Quartet was the deliberate creation of Edward J. de Coppet of New York, who in 1902 engaged the original members to devote themselves entirely to quartet-playing, and not with any view to giving regular concerts in public. The group took its name from de Coppet's summer villa near Lausanne, in Switzerland, where the four musicians first rehearsed. After a long period of practice, the Quartet made a European tour and won high praise for the perfection of its ensemble and its artistic finish. Both violinists and the violist had been students of the Belgian maestro César Thomson, who would also teach members of a contemporaneous pioneering American chamber group, the Zoellner Quartet. The group was first heard in New York, in private and at charity concerts, in autumn 1904, but it did not give a public concert in the USA until 5 December 1905. After that it appeared regularly in Europe and America. The members stuck to the original principle of not accepting any outside engagement, and having no pupils, and by devoting themselves entirely to the quartet maintained a position of acknowledged superiority in their field.
In 1914 the group asked Igor Stravinsky to write them a work. This resulted in his "Three pieces for String Quartet". A few years later they also commissioned him to write "Concertino", a one-movement work. Éduard de Coppet died in 1916, and his son André continued thereafter to maintain the Quartet. The original violist Ugo Ara left the group to join the Italian army, resulting in his replacement. The Quartet performed worldwide until disbanding in 1928 after a farewell tour that ended on April 14 in London. However, their recording of the Haydn 'Lark' quartet (below) could still be described as 'in prep.' in 1936.
The Flonzaley made both acoustic and electrical recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company. Among their recordings of longer works are the following:
- Beethoven: Quartet Op 18 no 2 (V 1218-21/DA 851-854).
- Beethoven: Quartet in E flat major op 127 (V 7629-33/DB 1377-81).
- Beethoven: Quartet in F major op 135 (V 122-125/DA 847-850).
- Brahms: Quintet in F minor op 34 with Harold Bauer, piano (V 6571-5/DB970-4).
- Dohnányi: Quartet no 2 in D flat major op 15 (V 7354-6/DB 1135-7).
- Haydn: Quartet in D major op 64 no 5 (V 7650-1).
- Mozart: Quartet in D minor K 421 (V 7607-8/DB 1357-8).
- Mozart: Quartet in D major K 575 (DA 947-9 ('V 1585-7' not issued?)).
- Schubert: Quartet in G major op 161 (V 7475-8/DB 1373-6).
- Schumann: Quintet in E flat major op 44 with Ossip Gabrilowitsch, piano (V 8092-5/DB 1191-4).
- Smetana: Quartet no 1 in E minor (V 7130-2/DB 1359-61).
- Cariaga, Daniel, "Not Taking It with You: A Tale of Two Estates," Los Angeles Times, December 22, 1985, accessed April 2012.
- R.D. Darrell, The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music (New York 1936).
- A. Eaglefield-Hull, A Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians (Dent, London 1924).
- D. Ewen, Encyclopedia of Concert Music (Hill and Wang, New York 1959).