Meet the Brentano String Quartet – Serena Canin
The Secret Life of the Brentano String Quartet (2007) Serena Canin, violin
My earliest musical memory is… I don’t have a clear early musical memory (maybe because with two musician parents there was so much music being played in my house all the time) but I do remember very clearly the first time I enjoyed listening to a concert. I was about 10 and my parents took me to hear the violinist Franco Gulli play the Vivaldi Four Seasons – it was so beautiful that I didn’t want it to end. I distinctly remember how disappointed I was when it was over!When I was a child I wanted to be… anything but a musician.
My mother and father always told me… to practice.
My first instrument was… the piano.
The thing I like most about my work is… Hard to say because there are so many wonderful things about it. For one thing, the repertoire is hard to beat for its beauty, profundity and variety – after 15 years of playing. I still have much to look forward to. The nature of a string quartet is very idealistic – it is teamwork at its best, using everyone’s contributions to make the whole better than the sum of its parts. I also find the close working relationship and friendship sustained over many years to be deeply satisfying. A joy, really. I feel very lucky to have found a “job” that suits me so well – one that in fact never feels like a job!
At home I like to… play with my kids.
The hardest thing I ever… did was what I’m doing right now – balancing the needs of two young children with the demands of my work. It is a constant challenge. Let’s hear it for working parents everywhere!
My happiest moments are… when I’m performing great music well.
If I could travel in time I would… go back to around 1850, well before TV, computers and cellphones.
The three heroes I’d like to have to dinner are… Marcella Hazan, my favorite Italian chef (she would have to do the cooking) Frank McCourt, my favorite Irish storyteller (he would tell the stories) and Ella Fitzgerald, my favorite American jazz singer (she would provide the music afterwards). My idea of a great evening!