Brentano String Quartet
Mark Steinberg, violin
Serena Canin, violin
Misha Amory, viola
Nina Lee, cello
Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. “Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding,” raves the London Independent; the New York Times extols its “luxuriously warm sound [and] yearning lyricism”; the Philadelphia Inquirer praises its “seemingly infallible instincts for finding the center of gravity in every phrase and musical gesture”; and the Times (London) opines, “the Brentanos are a magnificent string quartet…This was wonderful, selfless music-making.” Within a few years of its formation, the Quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In recent seasons the Quartet has traveled widely, appearing all over the United States and Canada, in Europe, Japan and Australia. It has performed in the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House. The Quartet has participated in summer festivals such as Aspen, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, the Edinburgh Festival, the Kuhmo Festival in Finland, the Taos School of Music and the Caramoor Festival. Beginning in June 2013 the Quartet will serve as the collaborative ensemble for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, succeeding the Takacs Quartet.
The Brentano String Quartet provided the central music (Beethoven Opus 131) for thecritically-acclaimed independent film A Late Quartet. The feature film, directed by Yaron Silberman and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken and Mark Ivanir, was screened in major cities throughout North America, including Toronto, New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles San Francisco, and Washington DC.
In addition to performing the entire two-century range of the standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano Quartet has a strong interest in both very old and very new music. It has performed many musical works pre-dating the string quartet as a medium, among them Madrigals of Gesualdo, Fantasias of Purcell, and secular vocal works of Josquin. Also, the quartet has worked closely with some of the most important composers of our time, among them Elliot Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Steven Mackey, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág. The Quartet has commissioned works from Wuorinen, Adolphe, Mackey, David Horne and Gabriela Frank. Among the Quartet’s latest collaborations with contemporary composers is a new work by Steven Mackey, “One Red Rose,” which was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Yellow Barn and the Nasher Center to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Other new commissions include a piano quintet by Vijay Iyer, a work by Eric Moe which had its premiere in September, 2012 (with Christine Brandes, soprano), and a new viola quintet by Felipe Lara (to be performed with violist Hsin-Yun Huang).
The Quartet has been privileged to collaborate with such artists as soprano Jessye Norman, pianist Richard Goode, and pianist Mitsuko Uchida. The Quartet enjoys an especially close relationship with Ms. Uchida, appearing with her on stages in the United States, Europe, and Japan.
In April, 2012 the first of three recordings featuring the late Beethoven Quartets was released on Aeon Records. Previous recordings include a disc of Mozart (also on Aeon), and the Opus 71 quartets of Haydn. In the area of newer music, the Quartet has released a disc of the music of Steven Mackey on Albany Records, and has also recorded the music of Bruce Adolphe, Chou Wen-chung and Charles Wuorinen. In 1998, cellist Nina Lee joined the Quartet, succeeding founding member Michael Kannen. The following season the Quartet became the first Resident String Quartet at Princeton University.
The Quartet is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”, the intended recipient of his famous love confession.