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A new Fab Four for the music school

When the Tokyo String Quartet retired from performance—and from its residency at the Yale School of Music—last year, the school didn't exactly have a process in place to guide the search for a new quartet. It hadn't come up much, since the Tokyo quartet had been there since 1977. At a press briefing yesterday introducing their successors, Dean Robert Blocker said that the school’s faculty, staff, and students not only had an opinion about the process, “most people had three or four opinions about it.”

Blocker said he was looking for a group that was not only musically talented, but that also had “values that give their music an extra dimension” and that could be “role models for our students.” They chose the Brentano String Quartet, an acclaimed ensemble that has been in residence at Princeton for the last 15 years. “I remember stalking them at the Cliburn competition because I wanted to see how they handled a rehearsal,” Blocker said.

The quartet was founded in 1992 by four Juilliard students, three of whom—violist Misha Amory ’89 and violinists Serena Canin and Mark Steinberg—are still with the group. (Cellist Nina Lee, also from Juilliard, joined in 1998.) They are named for Antonie Brentano, a Viennese arts patron who is believed by some to the “Immortal Beloved” to whom Beethoven wrote a famous love letter. They have performed around the world and recorded quartets by Haydn and Mozart along with other CDs. They provided the music for the 2012 film A Late Quartet.

As quartet in residence, the New York–based group will come to New Haven weekly to coach students at the School of Music, give concerts twice a year, and spend part of each summer in residence at the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Amory, who studied with members of the Tokyo String Quartet when he was an undergraduate at Yale, says he's excited to work with the school’s “remarkably accomplished and gifted students.” The quartet, which performed last night at Sprague Hall, begins its residency at Norfolk this summer.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under Brentano String Quartet, school of music
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