Brentano Quartet

Brentano String Quartet returns to ASU as 2019-20 resident artist

By

Lynne MacDonald

Praised as “passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding” by the London Independent, the internationally acclaimed Brentano Quartet returns to the ASU School of Music for the school’s Visiting Quartet Residency Program.

This will be Brentano’s fourth residency at ASU and the 15th anniversary of ASU’s Visiting Quartet Residency Program, one of the leading chamber music programs for students in the nation.

Each year the School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts chooses a different major professional string quartet for the residency; the quartet members also serve as teachers during the program, which integrates a comprehensive chamber music curriculum with coaching by top musicians in the field.

“Brentano is one of the elite string quartets in the country, and they have a unique group sound and approach that will benefit our students greatly,” said Jonathan Swartz, professor in the ASU School of Music and founder and artistic director of the Visiting Quartet Residency Program. “We are lucky that Brentano comes to ASU every four years, as they are brilliant, expressive players. They are a true quartet — unified, yet distinguished. They are excellent teachers who inspire with their curiosity and knowledge, as well as their playing.”

The program’s resident artists work intensively with students on projects designed to form the basis of the chamber music curriculum. Over the course of a four-year undergraduate degree, students will have developed relationships with four different professional string quartets, while covering all the major pillars of chamber music literature.

In the fall semester, students will study German and Viennese composers. In February, they will study Mendelssohn; and in April, the students will study French composers.

“Our program also integrates community engagement activities, so our students are making valuable contributions to the larger community,” Swartz said. “Each year, these activities include presentations and performances for almost 1,000 local high school students, performances at both Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Hospital and a collaborative project with new compositions inspired by art at the Phoenix Art Museum.”

Founded in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. The London Times describes Brentano as “a magnificent string quartet” and the New York Times hails Brentano as “something special.”

Since 2014, the quartet has been the resident string quartet at the Yale School of Music. Members include Misha Amory on viola, Serena Canin on violin, Nina Lee on cello and Mark Steinberg on violin.

The quartet has garnered numerous quartet and chamber music awards, including an invitation to become inaugural members of the esteemed Chamber Music Society Two.

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. 

Brentano’s opening concert in October features American operatic soprano Dawn Upshaw and is sponsored by the Phoenix Chamber Music Society. The February concert features Mendelssohn’s String Quartet, Op. 80. The Brentano Quartet concludes the residency with a final concert in April featuring a new work by composer Matthew Aucoin.

Residency Concerts:

Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Brentano String Quartet with Dawn Upshaw
Central United Methodist Church
1875 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Tickets 

Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Brentano String Quartet
Katzin Concert Hall
ASU Tempe campus
Tickets

April 9, 7:30 p.m.
Brentano String Quartet
Katzin Concert Hall
ASU Tempe campus
Tickets