Kronos Quartet: More than 40 years of avant-garde music
Known for its revolutionary interpretations of works by 20th-century masters, Kronos Quartet pushes the boundaries of contemporary classical music with an eclectic repertoire that includes jazz, rock, tango and film scores.
Founded more than 40 years ago, in 1973, this American string quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Sunny Yang (cello)—has an impressive resume. Over the years, its talent and fearlessly experimental talent has garnered dozens of prizes, including a Grammy, a Diapason d’Or and a Polar Music Prize.
Kronos Quartet has collaborated with many celebrated composers, including Philip Glass, Paul McCartney, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Clint Mansell and Tanya Tagaq. These four musicians also form the common thread linking artists as varied as Brazilian DJ Amon Tobin, Bollywood singer Asha Bhosle, and classically-trained soprano Dawn Upshaw, all of whom have worked with the quartet.
Some of the greatest stages on Earth have housed this San Francisco-based string quartet, such as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Barbican Centre in London, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This American quartet has also commissioned more than 950 musical works and arrangements.
Fresh perspectives through new members
The group still contains three of its four founding members—cellist Joan Jeanrenaud left the quartet in 1999. Since then, Kronos Quartet has welcomed several talented cellists into its ranks, including Jennifer Culp, Jeffrey Zeigler, and, since 2013, virtuoso Sunny Yang.
Kronos Quartet is highly prolific, with nearly sixty recordings to its name. Their expansive and inventive discography includes the score for Requiem for a Dream (2000), Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite (for which they were awarded a Grammy in 2004), and Clouded Yellow (2018), a work that highlights their fruitful, decade-long collaboration with noted New York composer Michael Gordon.
Renewal and experimentation are integral to Kronos Quartet, which is why it launched the program “Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire.” Through this educational initiative, fifty composers are commissioned to create innovative works, intended specifically to teach music students and emerging professional artists.
Kronos Quartet will perform on March 16, 2019, at the Maison symphonique at Place des Arts.
Kronos Quartet in three clicks
The Kronos Quartet and Dan Wilson cover Adele’s “Someone Like You”
The Kronos Quartet and Paul McCartney play “Yesterday”
The Kronos Quartet’s performance during the 10th anniversary of NPR Music in the United States