Brilliant, virtuosic, and still mellow, its members perfectly meshed in sound while retaining their individual personalities—the Brentano Quartet…must be one of the great musical hopes of a field overcrowded with contenders…The [players] made every utterance sing and every phrase connect within the total.”
In an original project conceived and elaborated by our first violinist, Mark Steinberg, we present J.S. Bach’s entire Art of Fugue in concert. The Art of Fugue is an intense meditation by Bach on a single theme, which is viewed from every imaginable perspective over the course of 16 fugues and 4 canons. Our project aims to leaven the rich density of this composition by bringing other media into the mix: several “fugal” readings by writers as diverse as Carl Sagan, Lewis Carroll and May Swenson, a play by Itamar Moses written in fugal form that we will perform ourselves, and an enormous stage sculpture by Gabriel Calatrava with which several dancers interact as they choreograph the music. Through these media, the audience is invited to share the feeling of being in the middle of a fugue as it is being performed.
The premiere of this project was in February 2016 at the 92nd St Y in New York, and we are excited to present it again for Da Camera of Houston on March 3, 2017.
We are now learning a brand new piece written for us by our friend, the fantastic composer Steve Mackey. Here’s a video we did where he talks about the piece. Come hear the world premiere in Carnegie Hall on February 12! Other performances in Yellow Barn and the Nasher Center in Dallas in November to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK.
Our first violinist Mark Steinberg introduces the Fragments Project: the Quartet has commissioned several composers (Charles Wuorinen, Sofia Gubaidulina, John Harbison, Vijay Iyer, Bruce Adolphe, and Stephen Hartke) to write pieces related to fragmentary works by earlier composers (Dufay, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Shostakovich)