photo by Jay Blakesberg
photo by Jay Blakesberg
photo by Zoran Orlic
For 40 years, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world's most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos' adventurous approach dates back to the ensemble's origins. In 1973, David Harrington was inspired to form Kronos after hearing George Crumb's Black Angels. Kronos then began building a compellingly diverse repertoire for string quartet, performing and recording works by 20th-century masters, contemporary composers, jazz legends, rock artists ( Jimi Hendrix, Amon Tobin, Sigur Rós), and artists who truly defy genre (Laurie Anderson, Trimpin, Meredith Monk).
Integral to Kronos' work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world's foremost composers. One of the quartet's most frequent composer-collaborators is “Father of Minimalism” Terry Riley, whose work with Kronos includes the early Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector; 2002's Sun Rings, and Another Secret eQuation. Kronos commissioned and recorded the three string quartets of Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Górecki. The quartet has also collaborated extensively with composers such as Steve Reich.
Kronos’ work has also featured prominently in a number of films, including How to Survive a Plague (2012) and Dirty Wars (2012). Kronos also performed scores by Philip Glass for the films Mishima and Dracula and by Clint Mansell for the Darren Aronofsky films The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream. Additional films featuring Kronos’ music include 21 Grams, Heat, and True Stories.
The Quartet spends five months of each year on tour, appearing in concert halls, clubs, and festivals around the world including BAM Next Wave Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Barbican in London, WOMAD, UCLA's Royce Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Shanghai Concert Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. The ensemble's discography includes collections like Pieces of Africa (1992), Nuevo (2002), and the 2004 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg's Lyric Suite. Among the group’s latest releases are Rainbow (Smithsonian Folkways, 2010), in collaboration with musicians from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan; Uniko (Ondine, 2011), and Music of Vladimir Martynov (Nonesuch, 2011).
With a staff of eleven based in San Francisco, the non-profit Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours, concert presentations in the San Francisco Bay Area, education programs, and more. By cultivating creative relationships with emerging and established artists from around the world, Kronos and KPAA reap the benefit of decades of wisdom while maintaining a fresh approach to music-making.