Performance Thursday, February 5, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Brentano String Quartet
Joyce DiDonato

Zankel Hall
A three-century–long French connection defines this program. Charpentier’s Suite confirms his reputation as one of the master melodists of the 17th century. Debussy’s String Quartet shimmers with color and beguiles with rhythmic and harmonic invention. Based on the tragic life of French sculptor Camille Claudel, Jake Heggie’s poignant song cycle is a tour de force for both singer and quartet. Luna Pearl Woolf arranges a set of lullabies written by teen songwriters.

The contemporary works on this program are part of My Time, My Music.


  • Brentano String Quartet
    ·· Mark Steinberg, Violin
    ·· Serena Canin, Violin
    ·· Misha Amory, Viola
    ·· Nina Lee, Cello
  • Joyce DiDonato, Mezzo-Soprano


  • CHARPENTIER Suite in D Minor
  • DEBUSSY String Quartet in G Minor
  • LULLABY PROJECT MotherSongs (arr. Luna Pearl Woolf) (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • JAKE HEGGIE Camille Claudel: Into the Fire (NY Premiere)

  • Encore:
  • R. STRAUSS "Morgen," Op. 27, No. 4 (arr. Misha Amory)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Brentano String Quartet

    Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. In July 2014, the group succeeded the Tokyo String Quartet as artists-in-residence at Yale University, departing from their 14-year residency at Princeton University. The quartet also currently serves as the collaborative ensemble for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

    The Brentano String Quartet 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, DC; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House. The quartet had its first European tour in 1997 and was honored in the UK with the Royal Philharmonic Award for Most Outstanding Debut.

    The Brentano String Quartet is known for especially imaginative projects that combine old and new music, such as Fragments: Connecting Past and Present and Bach Perspectives. Among the quartet's latest collaborations with contemporary composers is a new work by Steven Mackey, One Red Rose, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Other recent commissions include a piano quintet by Vijay Iyer, a work by Eric Moe (with soprano Christine Brandes), and a viola quintet by Felipe Lara (with violist Hsin-Yun Huang). In 2012, the quartet provided the central music (Beethoven's Op. 131 String Quartet) for the critically acclaimed independent film A Late Quartet.

    The quartet has worked closely with other important composers of our time, among them Elliot Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág. The quartet has also been privileged to collaborate with such artists as soprano Jessye Norman, pianist Richard Goode, and pianist Mitsuko Uchida.

    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.

    More Info

  • Joyce DiDonato

    Winner of the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, Kansas-born Joyce DiDonato entrances audiences and critics alike across the globe. She has soared to the top of the industry both as a performer and a fierce arts advocate, gaining international prominence through her interpretations of Rossini, Handel, and Mozart, as well as through her wide-ranging, acclaimed discography.

    Much in demand on the concert and recital circuit, Ms. DiDonato holds residencies this season at both Carnegie Hall and the Barbican. Recently, she completed an acclaimed recital tour of South America, and has appeared in concert and recital in Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Toulouse, Mexico City, and Aspen. Additionally, she appeared as guest singer at the BBC's Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

    In opera, she appeared last season in the title role of Cendrillon at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, as Sesto in La clemenza di Tito at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Angelina in La Cenerentola at the Metropolitan Opera, and the title role of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Highlights this season include performances as Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi in her native Kansas City, Elena in La donna del lago at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role of Maria Stuarda in Barcelona, the title role of Alcina with The English Concert, and Marguerite in La damnation de Faust with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle.

    An exclusive recording artist with Erato / Warner Classics, Ms DiDonato's most recent recording, Stella di Napoli,is a sumptuous bel cantobanquet that includes little-known gems alongside music by Bellini, Rossini, and Donizetti. Her Grammy Award-winning recording Diva Divo comprises arias by male and female characters, celebrating the rich dramatic world of the mezzo-soprano. The recording that followed, Drama Queens,was exceptionally well received, both on disc and on several international tours. A retrospective of her first 10 years of recordings entitled ReJoyce! was released last year.

    Ms. DiDonato's honors include the Gramophone Artist of the Year and Recital of the Year awards, two German ECHO Klassik awards as Female Singer of the Year, and an induction into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.

    More Info


Pre-concert talk starts at 6:30 PM in Zankel Hall: Joyce DiDonato, Jake Heggie, and Mark Steinberg of the Brentano Quartet in conversation with Jeremy Geffen, Director of Artistic Planning, Carnegie Hall.


"Shakuntala" from Camille Claudel: Into the Fire
Joyce DiDonato, Mezzo-Soprano | The Alexander String Quartet
PentaTone Classics

At a Glance

MARC-ANTOINE CHARPENTIER  Concert pour quatre parties de violes, H. 545

Originally written for a consort of viols, this elegantly crafted set of dances established the model for the French dance suite of the Baroque era. The music reflects the expressive power and contrapuntal mastery with which Marc-Antoine Charpentier invested his better-known sacred works, such as the Messe de minuit pour Noël and the Te Deum (known to millions as the source of the popular theme for the Eurovision Song Contest).

CLAUDE DEBUSSY  String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10

Debussy’s first and only string quartet didn’t make much of a splash when it was first performed in Paris in late 1893. Although a handful of listeners recognized the seeds of the composer’s future greatness, many more seem to have been nonplused by his unorthodox treatment of harmony and form; the work’s quasi-cyclical structure, in particular, was ahead of its time. Only later did Debussy’s quartet take its place alongside Ravel’s as one of the glories of the chamber music literature.


Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project invites women facing pregnancy in their teenage years or while homeless or incarcerated to write personal lullabies for their babies in collaboration with professional artists. Ms. DiDonato selected four lullabies written by past participants to be arranged by composer Luna Pearl Woolf for performance with the Brentano String Quartet on this evening’s concert.

JAKE HEGGIE  Camille Claudel: Into the Fire

This theatrical piece is based on the life and artwork of French sculptor Camille Claudel, an artistic genius and Rodin’s lover who was eventually confined to an asylum by her family. The cycle’s narrative takes place on the day she is to be taken to the asylum as she wakes to the strange reality of what is about to happen and addresses her sculptures in each of the songs.

Program Notes


Joyce DiDonato talks about the song cycle Into the Fire and Camille Claudel.

Perspectives: Joyce DiDonato
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for young artists established by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony B. Evnin and the A. E. Charitable Foundation.
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions I, and Perspectives: Joyce DiDonato.

Part of