Award winning Brentano String Quartet to perform

The Bates College Concert Series ends its 2002-03 season with a performance by the celebrated Brentano String Quartet, joined by Maine pianist Yuri Funahashi, at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $7 for the general public and $5 for seniors, children and Bates students.

Funahashi and the quartet will perform Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, Op. 57. The quartet will play three fugues from Bach’s The Art of the Fugue, Webern’s Five Movements for String Quartet and Dvorák’s String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 51, to complete the program.

The Brentano String Quartet became the inaugural quartet in residence at Princeton University in 1999, and has been in residence at New York University since 1995. Funahashi, a Wilton resident and adjunct professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, is known to Maine audiences for her performances at various festivals, as well as with the Maine Music Society and the Pane-Funahashi Piano Duo. She has performed nationally and has recorded with violinists Joseph Swenson and Arturo Delmoni.

As an ensemble or separately, the members of the Brentano String Quartet — violinists Mark Steinberg and Serena Canin, violist Misha Amory and cellist Nina Maria Lee — are also familiar in Maine due to appearances at the Portland Chamber Music Festival and the Mt. Desert Festival of Chamber Music. Since its inception in 1992, the quartet has been praised for technical brilliance, musical insight and stylistic elegance.

Within a single year, the ensemble received three major awards: the first Cleveland Quartet Award, the 1995 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and the 10th annual Martin E. Segal Award. In 1997 the quartet’s first appearance in Great Britain won the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for most outstanding chamber music debut.

The Brentano String Quartet has performed in major North American musical centers including Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pittsburgh’s Frick Museum, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit and the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, as well as at venues in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans and Boston. The group has appeared with pianist Mitsuko Uchida at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, at the Library of Congress and at Lincoln Center, and collaborated with Jessye Norman in her 1998 Carnegie Hall and 1999 Salzburg Festival recitals.

The quartet is named after Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars believe to have been Beethoven’s mysterious “Immortal Beloved,” to whom he wrote his famous love confession. The four maintain a strong interest in contemporary music and have had several works written for them, including the String Quartet No. 6 of Milton Babbitt, Chou Wen-chung’s Clouds and two quartets by Bruce Adolphe.

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