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For more than 30 years, San Francisco's KRONOS QUARTET—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola) and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello)—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, collaborating with many of the world’s most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioning more than 650 new works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos’ work has also garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and “Musicians of the Year” (2003) from Musical America.
Since 1973, Kronos has built a compellingly eclectic repertoire for string quartet, performing and recording works by 20th-century masters (Bartók, Shostakovich, Webern), contemporary composers (Aleksandra Vrebalov, John Adams, Alfred Schnittke), jazz legends (Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk), and artists from even farther afield (rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, Azeri vocalist Alim Qasimov, avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn).
Integral to Kronos' work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world's foremost composers. Kronos has worked extensively with composers such as "Father of Minimalism" Terry Riley, whose work with Kronos includes Salome Dances for Peace, the multimedia production Sun Rings, and 2005's The Cusp of Magic; Philip Glass, recording his complete string quartets and scores to films like Mishima and Dracula; Azerbaijan’s Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, featured on the 2005 release Mugam Sayagi: Music of Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; Steve Reich, whose Kronos-recorded Different Trains earned a Grammy; Argentina's Osvaldo Golijov, whose work with Kronos includes both compositions and extensive arrangements for albums like Kronos Caravan and Nuevo; and many more.
In addition to composers, Kronos counts numerous artists from around the world among its regular collaborators, including Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; the legendary Bollywood "playback singer" Asha Bhosle; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq; Mexican rockers Café Tacuba; the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks; and the renowned American soprano Dawn Upshaw. Kronos has performed live with the likes of icons Allen Ginsberg, Modern Jazz Quartet, Tom Waits, David Barsamian, Howard Zinn, Betty Carter and David Bowie, and has appeared on recordings by such diverse talents as Nine Inch Nails, Amon Tobin, Dan Zanes, DJ Spooky, Dave Matthews, Nelly Furtado, Rokia Traoré, Joan Armatrading and Don Walser.
A non-profit organization, the Kronos Quartet/Kronos Performing Arts Association is committed to mentoring emerging musicians and composers, and to creating, performing, and recording new works. 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. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on disc. The ensemble's expansive discography on Nonesuch Records includes collections such as Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers, which simultaneously topped Billboard's Classical and World Music lists; 2000's Caravan, whose musical "travels" span North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East; 1998's ten-disc anthology, Kronos Quartet: 25 Years; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated celebration of Mexican culture; and the 2003 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg's Lyric Suite.