Bryan and I had the good fortune last week to be able to hear the visionary Kronos Quartet twice each during their week-long residence at NYU Abu Dhabi where we’re presently teaching. The ensemble played at NYUAD Arts Center‘s Black Box Theater five times, never once repeating a program, performing about 40 different pieces with origins in 27 different countries.
I wrote a little bit about the experience over at Electra Street (electrastreet.net), NYUAD’s journal of the arts and humanities, for which I’m presently serving as publisher. We were lucky enough to hear world premieres that were commissioned by the quartet for its “Fifty for the Future” initiative, which is designed both to create new repertoire and new training programs for future string quartets that seek to build on Kronos’s style and vision.
Those of you who are in New York this fall will have two opportunities to catch Kronos on its fall tour.
On Wednesday, September 23, 2015, the group will play at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space as part of the 2015 International Conference on Sustainable Development hosted by the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The program, entitled “2°C is the Limit: Music for a Sustainable Planet,” is presently scheduled to include the following pieces:
Omar Souleyman (arr. Jacob Garchik) / La Sidounak Sayyada (I’ll Prevent the Hunters from Hunting You) +
Hamza El Din (realized by Tohru Ueda) / Escalay (Water Wheel) *
Terry Riley / One Earth, One People, One Love from Sun Rings *
Vladislav Boguinia / Rise
with special guests ÆON Singers
And then, on October 20 at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, Kronos will be performing George Crumb’s Black Angels, the piece that inspired violinist David Harrington to found the ensemble back in 1973.
As of this writing, tickets for both shows are still available. If you manage to get to either of them, please drop us a line or, better yet, leave a comment here or send us a guest post. (We will, of course, be quite jealous!)
To whet your appetite, here’s a short concert recorded in 2013 for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. It features the current quartet’s lineup (David Harrington,violin; John Sherba, violin; Hank Dutt viola; and Sunny Yang, cello) playing three pieces: “Ahyem,” written for Kronos by Bryce Dessner of the Brooklyn rock band The National; “Lullaby,” a traditional song with Afro-Persian roots, which the group played at NYUAD; and Jacob Garchik’s arrangment of a 1930s blues song, “Last Kind Words.” Enjoy!