• Agents of Change

    • After more than 40 years of wonderful music, the Kronos Quartet has become one of the most distinguished music interpreters; condensing the sonorous explorations of our time.

    The restlessness of contemporary music: Kronos Quartet / 

    The Kronos Quartet is one of the best known classical music ensembles of our era, they have been working since the Seventies and continue to create contemporary compositions, in a way, validating the solvency of the pieces with their interpretations.

    In 1973, David Harrington, a violinist, founded Kronos. Since then and until 1999, the group was comprised by John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Joan Jeanrenaud (cello), a conglomeration of talent that awed audience members and critics alike. Curiously enough, the members have not changed ---except for the cellist--- whose role has been filled by half a dozen different musicians; the role is currently occupied by Sunny Yang.

    The quartet’s repertoire is essentially contemporary. Their relationship with Philip Glass, for example, is well known, the same goes for one of his fellow nationals, John Adams. They have also excelled in the interpretation of minimalist pieces like those composed by Arvo Pärt and Henryk Górecki. Their striking talent has led some of those composers to write works specifically for them, and the have also been the protagonists of several premieres (for example, the Five Tango Sensations, written by Astor Piazzola, whose album was launched in 1991 with the composer playing the bandoneón, was the Argentinian’s last).

    In this sense, the work of the Kronos Quartet is also important because they have been responsible for finding new contemporary composers and new forms of acquiring contemporary music in our era, a thermometer of the explorations that are currently taking place in the pentagram’s sphere and of the sounds of our time. For their thirtieth anniversary, in 2003, they ensemble asked composers, under thirty years of age, to write scores that they would execute. This commendable initiative was named the Under 30 Project; it is supported by some of the most important music institutions in the world, like Carnegie Hall and the University of California in Berkeley. Alexandra du Bois, Felipe Perez Santiago, Dan Visconti and Aviya Kopelman have been the some of the young composers who have been selected for this project.

    It is also important to mention the quartet’s presence in fields that are often considered foreign to classical music, for example cinema and pop music. But Kronos is actually behind some of the most memorable and surprising soundtracks, for example the one used in Requiem for a Dream (composed by Clint Mansell), Dracula and Mishima: a Life in Four Chapters (both by Philip Glass). Their collaborations, on the other hand, include dissimilar musicians like John Zorn, Café Tacuba, Nelly Furtado, Paul McCartney, the poet Allen Ginsberg and Nine Inch Nails.

    In sum, Kronos Quartet is a small convergence of admirable musicians, but above all else, it is a type of living, restless and constantly moving role model, which we should follow in order to discern the depth of contemporary music.  

    Tagged: music, musicians, Kronos Quartet, Agents of Change Credits: Image (German City Girl)