For more than 40 years, the Kronos Quartet has combined a spirit of fearless exploration
with a commitment to continually reimagining the string quartet experience. In the process,
Kronos has become one of the world's most celebrated and influential ensembles, performing
thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings, collaborating with many
of the world's most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning
more than 850 works and arrangements for string quartet. A Grammy winner, Kronos is also
the only recipient of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize.
Since 1973, Kronos has built a compellingly eclectic repertoire for string quartet,
performing and recording works by 20th-century masters (Bartók, Schnittke), contemporary
composers (John Adams, Aleksandra Vrebalov), jazz legends (Charles Mingus, Thelonious
Monk), rock artists (guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, Brazilian electronica artist Amon Tobin),
and many others.
Integral to Kronos' work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of
the world's foremost composers, including "Father of Minimalism" Terry Riley, on projects
such as the NASA-commissioned Sun Rings (2002); Philip Glass, including an
all-Glass CD in 1995 and the premiere of String Quartet No. 6 in 2013; Azerbaijan's
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, featured on the 2005 CD Mugam Sayagi; Steve Reich, including
Kronos' recording of the Grammy-winning composition Different Trains (1989) and
WTC 9/11 (2011); and many more.
Kronos has collaborated regularly with performing artists from around the world, such as
Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man, performance artist Laurie Anderson, Azeri vocalist
Alim Qasimov, legendary Bollywood "playback singer" Asha Bhosle, and Inuit throat singer
Tanya Tagaq. Kronos has also performed and/or recorded with the likes of Paul McCartney,
Allen Ginsberg, Zakir Hussain, Rokia Traoré, Rhiannon Giddens, Tom Waits, Howard Zinn,
Betty Carter, and rock bands The National and Sigur Rós. In dance, famed choreographers
Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, and Eiko & Koma have created pieces with
Kronos' work has been featured prominently in film, including two recent Academy
Award-nominated documentaries: the AIDS-themed How to Survive a Plague (2012) and
Dirty Wars (2013), an exposé of covert warfare. Kronos also recorded full scores
by Philip Glass (Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters and Dracula) and Clint
Mansell (Noah, The Fountain, and Requiem for a Dream).
The quartet tours extensively each year, appearing in the world's most prestigious concert
halls, clubs, and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on recordings,
including the releases Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born
composers that simultaneously topped Billboard's Classical and World Music lists;
Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated celebration of Mexican culture;
and the 2004 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg's Lyric Suite. Kronos Explorer
Series, a five-CD retrospective boxed set, was released in 2014, in addition to the
single-disc A Thousand Thoughts, featuring mostly unreleased recordings from
throughout Kronos' career. The following year, a boxed set of Terry Riley's music written
for and performed by Kronos was released.
With a staff of 11 based in San Francisco, the non-profit Kronos Performing Arts
Association (KPAA) manages all aspects of Kronos' work, including the commissioning of new
works, concert tours and home-season performances, education programs, and its new
presenting program KRONOS PRESENTS.
Ritva Koistinen is well known as a sensitive interpreter of contemporary music written for
kantele. She has worked as a lecturer in kantele music at the Sibelius
Academy since 1987, when she was invited to start the education of young kantele
players. Koistinen has given premiere performances of a large number of compositions
written for solo kantele and also for kantele with other instruments. To
date, she has recorded three solo albums.
Koistinen has given concerts as soloist both in Finland and abroad, including Sweden,
Norway, Estonia, Germany, France, Spain, Israel, Russia, Canada, and the US. She has
performed several kantele concertos by Finnish composers Pekka Jalkanen and Pehr
Henrik Nordgren with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Juha Kangas, and
Sinfonia Lahti, conducted by Osmo Vänskä.
Collaborations with the Kronos Quartet have been the most significant artistic projects in
Koistinen's musical activity. In 2014, she performed with Kronos in Stockholm Concert Hall,
where they gave the world premiere of Karin Rehnqvist's All Those Strings!.
In recent years, Koistinen has concentrated on research, finishing her doctoral work in
the development study program at the Sibelius Academy, University of Arts Helsinki. The
title of her project is "Bodily Experience and the Art of Touching in Kantele Playing."
Composer, performer, and improviser Philip White works with electronics at the
intersection of noise, jazz, and contemporary concert music. Current projects include R WE
WHO R WE (with Ted Hearne); duos with Chris Pitsiokos, Bob Bellerue, Taylor Levine, and
Paula Matthusen; and cross-media collaborations with Jim Findlay, Ralph Lemon, Nora
Chipaumire, and Urban Bush Women. Recent presentations of his work have taken place at BAM
Harvey Theater (Brooklyn), Fylkingen (Stockholm), American Academy in Rome, ISSUE Project
Room (Brooklyn), and other national and international venues. His music has been released
on Carrier Records, New Focus Recordings, Infrequent Seams, and Tape Drift Records. It has
been described as "utterly gripping" (Time Out Chicago), "bona fide evocative
music" (The Brooklyn Rail), and a "vibrant textural tapestry" (The Wall Street