Brentano String Quartet


J.S. Bach – Art of Fugue BWV 1080 / with an interlude for spoken voices by Itamar Moses

Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Lee, cello)
Performance Installation Design: Gabriel Calatrava
Lighting design and technical direction: John Kelly
Author: Itamar Moses
Original choreography by John-Mario Sevilla adapted by Anthony Aiu
Featuring the Art of Fugue dancers

Experience the brilliant Brentano Quartet and one of the cornerstones of western music in an entirely new way as they elucidate and visualize the fugue in their performances of one of J. S. Bach’s final works. This “performance installation” was created by the Brentano Quartet, engineer Gabriel Calatrava (who works for the engineering firm of his famed father Santiago) and choreographer John-Mario Sevilla. The set, and the choreographed movements of a corps of dancers, illuminate the themes and counterpoints of Bach’s masterpiece, performed live by the Quartet.

From the Brentano Quartet:
“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.”

“Set against the white lines of elastic, the dancers appear as notes that manipulate the staff on a piece of sheet music. The result is something simple, yet complex — just as Bach would’ve wanted.” — Wired


“Perfection may be an impossible goal in art, as in life, but the Brentano comes close” — Cleveland Plain Dealer


“The overall effect wasn’t that the group was playing music, but releasing it.” –Philadelphia Inquirer