Performance Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | 7:30 PM

Brentano String Quartet

Zankel Hall
This group is, as The New York Times puts it, “something special.” Concertgoers at Brentano's 2009 performance in Zankel Hall will never forget its innovative re-invention of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ with Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Mark Strand. This time around, the quartet performs Beethoven’s Opus 131 and introduces New York City to a new work that was composed for them by Stephen Hartke.


  • Brentano String Quartet
    ·· Mark Steinberg, Violin
    ·· Serena Canin, Violin
    ·· Misha Amory, Viola
    ·· Nina Lee, Cello


  • HAYDN String Quartet in F Major, Op. 77, No. 2
  • STEPHEN HARTKE Night Songs for a Desert Flower (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • BEETHOVEN String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

  • Program is approximately 1 hour, 50 minutes, including one intermission


  • 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. Within a few years of its formation, the quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In 1996, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center invited the Brentano Quartet to the inaugural Chamber Music Society Two, a program that has become a coveted distinction for chamber groups and individuals ever since. The quartet had its first European tour in 1997, and was honored in the UK with the Royal Philharmonic Award for Most Outstanding Debut. That debut recital was at London's Wigmore Hall, where the quartet later served as quartet-in-residence during the 2000-2001 season.

    In recent seasons, the Brentano Quartet has traveled widely, appearing across the US, Canada, 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, DC; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House. The quartet has also participated in summer festivals, including Aspen, Music Academy of the West, Edinburgh, Kuhmo, Taos School of Music, and Caramoor.

    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 Elliott Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Steven Mackey, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág. The quartet celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2002 by commissioning 10 composers to write companion pieces for selections from Bach's The Art of Fugue, the result of which was an electrifying and wide-ranging single concert program. The quartet has also worked with the celebrated poet Mark Strand, commissioning poetry from him to accompany works of Haydn and Webern.

    In 1998, cellist Nina Lee joined the Brentano Quartet, succeeding founding member Michael Kannen. The following season, the quartet became the first Resident String Quartet at Princeton University. The quartet's duties at the university are wide-ranging, including performances at least once each semester, as well as workshops with graduate composers and chamber-music coachings with undergraduate performers.

    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


Beethoven String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp Minor Op. 131 (VII. Allegro)
Takàcs Quartet

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 III.