Grass Valley, CA –  The acclaimed Brentano String Quartet comes to InConcert Sierra on Sunday, January 15 at 2pm with a program that celebrates the music of composer Antonín Dvořák and his impact on American classical music.

When the Bohemian composer Antonín Dvořák was invited to New York to direct the National Conservatory of Music of America in 1892, he was charged with the unusual task of helping to establish an American musical identity. 

BRENTANO QUARTET – Misha Amory/ viola, Serena Canin/violin (glasses), Nina Lee/cello, Mark Steinberg/violin (glasses) www.http://brentanoquartet.com/ Photo by Frank Jurgen

Dvořák “turned the musical establishment upside down,” notes Brentano violist Serena Canin, when he proclaimed that “in the Negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music… There is nothing in the whole range of composition that cannot be supplied with themes from this source.” Dvořák proceeded to infuse his own compositions with these themes, yielding magnificent results; the pieces Dvořák wrote in America are among his most beloved.

Paying tribute to Dvořák and his American legacy, the Quartet will feature his “Quartet in Ab, Op. 105,” written largely in New York, but completed and published upon his return to Europe in 1895. 

In the spirit of an early 20th century recital, the Quartet will perform “encore” pieces for the second half to reflect Dvořák’s simple wisdom: that the foundation of an American musical identity would be discovered in our own backyard. Included are some of the spirituals he found so moving, works by William Grant Still and George Walker that may never have been written had Dvořák not been an early champion of Black music, plus music by Charles Ives that quotes American popular songs, and one blues arrangement by Steven Mackey. If the program has an emblem, it is the soulful and evocative slow movement from Dvořák’s “American” Quartet.”

Critics praise the quartet for their passion, exuberance, and impeccable musicianship as well as their “hair-raising level of focus and intensity” (The New York TImes).  

If you’re ready to start the 2023 year with an experience that is full of life and high-energy, performed by one of the top chamber ensembles in the country, this is your concert,” says ICS Executive Director Julie Hardin. 

“When an abundance of critics note that the Brentano is ‘something special’ and ‘seize your attention’, it’s undoubtedly true and even possibly understated.  I’m ready!” Hardin said.

There is a 20-minute pre-concert forum that begins at 1:15pm, prior to the performance.

InConcert Sierra is a Nevada County non-profit organization that presents high-caliber classical music performances and robust music education offerings for all ages.  Founded in 1946, ICS is celebrating 76 years as an integral part of Nevada County’s arts community. For more information, call 530-273-3990 or please visit www.inconcertsierra.org.

What: InConcert Sierra presents the Brentano String Quartet

When: 2pm, Sunday, Jan 15, 2023; 1:15 pre-concert forum

Where: Seventh-day Adventist Church, 12889 Osborne Hill Road, Grass Valley

Tickets: $48 general available online at inconcertsierra.org or call 530-273-3990. Youth (5-17) free with adult.