The Brentano String Quartet & Dawn Upshaw
DATE: Saturday, April 30, 2022 @ 7pm
LOCATION: Southern Theatre
Misha Amory, viola
Serena Canin, violin
Nina Lee, cello
Mark Steinberg, violin
Purcell: Dido’s Lament, and other baroque works
Melinda Wagner: new work for Soprano and String Quartet
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Brentano photo by Juergen Frank | Upshaw photo by Brooke Irish
Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. “Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding,” raves the London Independent; the New York Times extols its “luxuriously warm sound [and] yearning lyricism.” Within a few years of its formation, the Quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and was also honored in the U.K. with the Royal Philharmonic Award for Most Outstanding Debut. Since then, the Quartet has concertized widely, performing in the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House.
In addition to performing the entire two-century range of the standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano Quartet maintains a strong interest in contemporary music, and has commissioned many new works. Their latest project, a monodrama for quartet and voice called “Dido Reimagined,” was composed by Pulitzer-winning composer Melinda Wagner and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, and will premiere in spring 2021 with soprano Dawn Upshaw. Other recent and upcoming commissions include the composers Matthew Aucoin, Lei Liang, Vijay Iyer, James Macmillan, and a cello quintet by Steven Mackey (with Wilhelmina Smith, cello.)
The Brentano Quartet has worked closely with other important composers of our time, among them Elliot Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág. They have also been privileged to collaborate with such artists as soprano Jessye Norman, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and pianists Richard Goode, Jonathan Biss, and Mitsuko Uchida. The Quartet has recorded works by Mozart and Schubert for Azica Records, and all of Beethoven’s late Quartets for the Aeon label. In 2012, they provided the central music (Beethoven Opus 131) for the critically-acclaimed independent film A Late Quartet.
Since 2014, the Brentano Quartet has served as Artists-in-Residence at the Yale School of Music. They were formerly the Ensemble-in-Residence at Princeton University, and were twice invited to be the collaborative ensemble for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
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.
Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Her acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles (Susanna, Ilia, Pamina, Despina, and Zerlina) as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. From Salzburg, Paris and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances, Dawn Upshaw has also championed numerous new works created for her including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison; the Grawemeyer Award-winning opera, L’Amour de Loin and oratorio La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams’s Nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre.
It says much about Dawn Upshaw’s sensibilities as an artist and colleague that she is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Gilbert Kalish, the Kronos Quartet, James Levine, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Dawn Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works in the past decade. From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music. She furthers this work in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is the Head of the Vocal Arts Program at the Tanglewood Music Center and was the founding Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music.
A five-time Grammy Award winner, Dawn Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki for Nonesuch Records. Her discography also includes full-length opera recordings of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro; Messiaen’s St. Francois d’Assise; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; John Adams’s El Niño; two volumes of Canteloube’s “Songs of the Auvergne,” a dozen recital recordings, and an acclaimed three-disc series of Osvaldo Golijov’s music for Deutsche Grammophon. Her most recent Grammy was the 2014 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy for Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks on the ArtistShare Label.
Dawn Upshaw holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. She began her career as a 1984 winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and the 1985 Walter W. Naumburg Competition, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program.
Ms. Upshaw has recorded extensively for the Nonesuch label. She may also be heard on Angel/EMI, BMG, Deutsche Grammophon, London, Sony Classical, Telarc, and on Erato and Teldec in the Warner Classics Family of labels.
“Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding,” raves the London Independent; the New York Times extols its “luxuriously warm sound [and] yearning lyricism.”
Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity …rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music…
A five-time Grammy Award winner…
Enjoy these performances until Brentano & Upshaw grace the stage at the Southern Theatre on April 30, 2022.