The internationally acclaimed Brentano String Quartet has been appointed the new quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music (YSM). The members of the quartet — Mark Steinberg and Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory ’89, viola; and Nina Lee, cello — will also serve as artists-in-residence.
Their faculty appointment will begin in fall 2014. They succeed the Tokyo String Quartet, which retired in 2013 after 37 years at YSM.
“The Brentano Quartet comes to YSM and the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival with international renown for their exquisite artistry and their musical insights as gifted teachers,” said Robert Blocker, Dean of the Yale School of Music. “They join our distinguished faculty in our commitment to chamber music, a fundamental component of advanced musical study at Yale.”
The Brentano Quartet will anchor the School of Music’s chamber music program, serving as faculty coaches to the next generation of musicians. The ensemble will perform a concert each semester for the Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the School of Music, and will also spend part of each summer in residence at the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, where as artist faculty they will perform and teach.
“The Norfolk Festival is thrilled to welcome an ensemble with the international reputation of the Brentano Quartet — and such wonderful people, too,” says Paul Hawkshaw, Director of the Yale Summer School of Music. “We look forward to many summers of superb concerts and fine teaching with them.”
Within a few years of its formation in 1992, the Brentano Quartet had already garnered the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. Since then, it has continued to earn accolades, including appointments as inaugural members of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two and a yearlong residency at Wigmore Hall. The quartet has been in residence at Princeton University since 1999.
For the critically-acclaimed independent film “A Late Quartet,” the filmmakers turned to the Brentano String Quartet for the central music, Beethoven’s Opus 131. Earlier this year, the quartet served as the collaborative ensemble for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
“The Brentano String Quartet is a tremendously exciting addition to the faculty,” said Melvin Chen, Deputy Dean of YSM. “They will thrill audiences and inspire students, and their commitment to interdisciplinary projects will draw interest from the wider university community.”
The ensemble has performed numerous musical works pre-dating the string quartet as a medium, including music by Gesualdo, Purcell, and Josquin. It has also collaborated with some of the most important composers working today, including Elliott 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. One of their most recent collaborations is a new work by Mackey, “One Red Rose,” which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Another new commission is a piano quintet by the pioneering jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, a winner of a 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Grant and a Yale alumnus.
Peter Oundjian, a member of the Yale School of Music faculty and former first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet, noted that the quartet “exudes passion and integrity in everything they do. This is a most exciting development in the history of the Yale School of Music.”
"We are thrilled and honored to become part of the community at the Yale School of Music,” said violist Misha Amory. “As a former undergraduate at Yale, I particularly treasure my memories of being coached by Peter Oundjian, Kikuei Ikeda, and Kazuhide Isomura of the Tokyo Quartet. It is a privilege to have been invited to step into those shoes."
For more information, please contact Dana Astmann.
Brentano String Quartet
Yale School of Music