For more than 30 years, the Kronos Quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet.
In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential ensembles of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, and commissioning more than 650 new works and arrangements for string quartet.
Integral to Kronos' work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world's foremost composers, including Americans Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich; Azerbaijan's Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; Poland's Henryk Górecki, and Argentina's Osvaldo Golijov. Additional collaborators from around the world have included Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; the legendary Bollywood "playback singer" Asha Bhosle; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq; Mexican rockers Café Tacuba; famed Azeri vocalist Alim Qasimov; and iconic American singer-songwriter, Tom Waits.
Kronos' work has garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and "Musicians of the Year" (2003) from Musical America. A non-profit organization based in San Francisco, the Kronos Quartet/Kronos Performing Arts Association is committed to mentoring emerging musicians and composers, and to creating, performing, and recording new works.
For this week's mixtape violinist David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet offers a playlist that jumps freely across time periods and continents, from Eric Satie to Nam June Paik to traditional Scandinavian folk music.
For 30 years, the music of Philip Glass has played a large and vital role in the work of Kronos Quartet. His "Mishima" was our very first film soundtrack recording. The only concert we ever played in a graveyard was with Philip in Spain. It was Philip who introduced us to Foday Musa Suso, the great kora player from Gambia. We played "Dracula" together in Canada on the horrifying night that Al Gore won the election and then didn't. Then...
1985 (I guess it must’ve been) was the first time I sat down with Steve Reich to ask him to write for Kronos.