The Grace Goudy Distinguished Artists Series presents the Brentano String Quartet Sunday, April 11, at 3 p.m. in Hudson Hall in the Rogers Music Center at Willamette University. The quartet will present a free master class that evening from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., also in Hudson Hall.
The program will feature Ludwig van Beethoven's "String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131" and Franz Schubert's "String Quartet in G Major, D. 887."
Since its inception in 1992, the quartet has received critical acclaim throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia, performing in the world's most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
In addition to performing the two-century range of the standard quartet repertoire, the quartet has a strong interest in both very old and very new music. It has performed many works pre-dating the string quartet as a medium, including Baroque music and Renaissance madrigals and polyphonic vocal pieces. The group has also commissioned works from some of the most important composers of our time. It celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2002 by commissioning ten composers to write companion pieces for selections from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Art of Fugue," resulting in an electrifying and wide-ranging concert.
The London Times praised the quartet's talent, writing, "Such was their ferocity that the instruments almost burst into flames." The group offered an "almost unearthly level of perfection." The New York Times extolled the quartet's "luxuriously warm sound and yearning lyricism," saying, "Their music making is private, delicate and fresh, but by its very intimacy and importance it seizes attention." The Philadelphia Inquirer praised the group's "seemingly infallible instincts for finding the center of gravity in every phrase and musical gesture," and The Toronto Star wrote, "A hair-raising level of focus and intensity ... Whew!"
"Perfection may be an impossible goal in art, as in life, but the Brentano comes close ... The performance was ... a collaboration of intense cohesion, which allowed the music to soar and sing as if it were being performed for the first time," wrote The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The quartet features Mark Steinberg and Serena Canin on violin, Misha Amory on viola and Nina Maria Lee on cello. The group is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved," the intended recipient of his famous love confession.
Tickets are $10, $15 or $20 for adults, $5 for students, and $10 for education employees with ID, and can be purchased at Travel Salem, at 181 High Street NE in downtown Salem. Tickets are also available at (503) 581-4325 or online at www.absolutelytix.com. Seats are reserved. Willamette University students may purchase the $5 student tickets in the Music Office, Rogers Music Center. For more information call the Willamette Music Department at (503) 370-6255 or visit www.willamette.edu/arts/goudyartistseries.