Performance Saturday, March 7, 2015 | 9 PM

Kronos Quartet

Zankel Hall
One of the most celebrated ensembles of our day, the Kronos Quartet continues to expand the range and context of the string quartet. This concert includes a new work commissioned by Carnegie Hall and Beyond Zero: 1914–1918, an extraordinary multimedia production that features music by Aleksandra Vrebalov and a film by Bill Morrison. A native of the former Yugoslavia, Vrebalov’s work recounts her firsthand experiences in the war-torn Balkans of the 1990s, set against Morrison’s film that includes seldom-seen World War I footage from the Library of Congress.

Part of Late Nights at Zankel Hall and My Time, My Music.


  • Kronos Quartet
    ·· David Harrington, Violin
    ·· John Sherba, Violin
    ·· Hank Dutt, Viola
    ·· Sunny Yang, Cello
  • with special guests
    Face the Music
  • Members of the Byzantine Chorus of Kovilj Monastery (Serbia)


  • MERLIJN TWAALFHOVEN On Parole (World Premiere)
  • DEREK CHARKE Dear Creator, help us return to the centre of our hearts (World Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • ALEKSANDRA VREBALOV / BILL MORRISON Beyond Zero: 1914–1918 (for quartet with film) (NY Premiere)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two and one-half hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Kronos Quartet

    For 40 years, the Kronos Quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, 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. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize-two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians. The group's numerous awards also include a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and being named 2003's Musicians of the Year by Musical America.

    Kronos' adventurous approach dates back to the ensemble's origins. In 1973, David Harrington was inspired to form Kronos after hearing George Crumb's Black Angels, a highly unorthodox, Vietnam War-inspired work that featured bowed water glasses, spoken-word passages, and electronic effects. Kronos then began building a compellingly diverse repertoire for string quartet, performing and recording works by 20th-century masters (Bartók, Webern, Schnittke), contemporary composers (John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Aleksandra Vrebalov), jazz legends (Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk), rock artists (guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, Brazilian electronica artist Amon Tobin, Icelandic indie-rock group Sigur Rós), and artists who truly defy genre (performance artist Laurie Anderson, composer-sound sculptor-inventor Trimpin, interdisciplinary composer-performer Meredith Monk).

    Integral to Kronos' work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world's foremost composers. One of the quartet's most frequent composer-collaborators is "Father of Minimalism" Terry Riley, whose work with Kronos includes Salome Dances for Peace; Sun Rings, a multimedia, NASA-commissioned ode to the earth and its people, featuring celestial sounds and images from space; and The Serquent Risadome, premiered during Kronos' 40th-anniversary celebration at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Kronos commissioned and recorded the three string quartets of Polish composer Henryk Górecki, with whom the group worked for more than 25 years. The quartet has also collaborated extensively with composers such as Philip Glass, recording a CD of his string quartets in 1995 and premiering a new work in 2013, among other projects; Azerbaijan's Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, whose works are featured on the full-length 2005 release Mugam Sayagi; Steve Reich, from Kronos' performance of the Grammy-winning composition Different Trains to the September 11-themed WTC 9/11; and many more.

    In addition to composers, Kronos counts numerous performers from around the world among its collaborators, including Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; Azeri master vocalist Alim Qasimov, legendary Bollywood "playback singer" Asha Bhosle, featured on Kronos' Grammy-nominated CD You've Stolen My Heart: Songs from R. D. Burman's Bollywood; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq; indie rock band The National; Mexican rockers Café Tacvba; sound artist and instrument builder Walter Kitundu; and Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks. Kronos has performed live with the likes of Paul McCartney, Allen Ginsberg, Zakir Hussain, Modern Jazz Quartet, Noam Chomsky, Rokia Traoré, Tom Waits, David Barsamian, Howard Zinn, Betty Carter, and David Bowie, and has appeared on recordings by such diverse talents as Nine Inch Nails, Dan Zanes, DJ Spooky, Dave Matthews, Nelly Furtado, Joan Armatrading, and Don Walser. In dance, famed choreographers Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Eiko & Koma, and Paul Lightfoot and Sol León (Nederlands Dans Theater) have created pieces with Kronos' music.

    Kronos' work has also featured prominently in a number of films, 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 for which Kronos' David Harrington served as music supervisor. Kronos also performed scores by Philip Glass for the films Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters and Dracula (a restored edition of the 1931 Tod Browning-Bela Lugosi classic) and by Clint Mansell for the Darren Aronofsky films The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream. Additional films featuring Kronos' music include 21 Grams, Heat, and True Stories.

    The quartet spends five months of each year on tour, appearing in concert halls, clubs, and festivals around the world, including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, BAM Next Wave Festival, Carnegie Hall, London's Barbican, WOMAD, UCLA's Royce Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Shanghai Concert Hall, and Sydney Opera House. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on recordings. The ensemble's expansive discography on Nonesuch Records includes collections like Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers that simultaneously topped Billboard's Classical and World Music charts; 1998's 10-disc anthology, Kronos Quartet: 25 Years; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated celebration of Mexican culture; and the 2004 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg's Lyric Suite. Other recent releases include Rainbow (Smithsonian Folkways, 2010), in collaboration with musicians from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan; and Aheym: Kronos Quartet Plays Music by Bryce Dessner (Anti-, 2013). Kronos' two most recent releases, unveiled by Nonesuch simultaneously in 2014 in celebration of the quartet's 40th anniversary season, are Kronos Explorer Series, a five-CD retrospective boxed set; and the single-disc A Thousand Thoughts, featuring mostly unreleased recordings from throughout Kronos' career. Music publishers Boosey & Hawkes and Kronos have released two editions of Kronos Collection sheet music: Volume 1 (2006), featuring three Kronos-commissioned works; and Volume 2 (2014), featuring six Kronos-commissioned arrangements by composer Osvaldo Golijov.

    In addition to its role as a performing and recording ensemble, the quartet is committed to mentoring emerging performers and composers and has led workshops, master classes, and other education programs at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, California State Summer School for the Arts, Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, London's Barbican, and other institutions in the US and overseas. Kronos is undertaking extended educational residencies in 2013-2014 at UC Berkeley's Cal Performances, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, the Special Music School at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City, and the Malta Arts Festival.

    With a staff of 10 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, concert presentations in the San Francisco Bay Area, education programs, and more. One of KPAA's most exciting initiatives is the Kronos: Under 30 Project, a unique commissioning and residency program for composers under age 30 that has now added five new works to the Kronos repertoire. By cultivating creative relationships with emerging and established artists from around the world, Kronos and KPAA reap the benefit of decades of wisdom, while maintaining a fresh approach to music making.

    Beginning in the 2015-2016 season, the newly announced Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, launched in collaboration with Carnegie Hall as a lead partner, will include the commissioning of 50 new works-from five women and five men per year for five years-devoted to contemporary approaches to the quartet, designed expressly for the training of students and emerging professionals, and distributed online for free.

    More Info

  • Face the Music

    Kaufman Music Center's Face the Music is the only youth ensemble in the country solely devoted to the music of living composers. Under the direction of Dr. Jenny Undercofler, Face the Music has performed at venues such as Merkin Hall, Roulette, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the Bang on a Can Marathon, and has been featured in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

    Face the Music performs music for orchestra, jazz band, and improvisation ensembles in all genres, written by its own member-composers; and partners with the Kronos Quartet in a one-of-a-kind string quartet program. The student quartets in the Kronos at Kaufman program represent the best string students in the city, drawn together by a shared desire to explore modern quartet repertoire.

    More Info

  • Byzantine Chorus of Kovilj Monastery

    Founded in the 13th century, Kovilj Monastery in northern Serbia is home to two dozen Orthodox Christian monks. The Kovilj Monastery Choir has performed Byzantine chanting for more than 20 years in services that include all-night vigils in the monasteries of Hilandar and Vatopedi on Mount Athos, and at music festivals in Serbia, Finland, Russia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and France. Its members have written about Byzantine chanting and recorded several CDs that include Psalms, all-night vigil, and chants. Hierotheos, the leader of the group since 2003, joined the brotherhood in 1998. From 2009 to 2013, he studied Byzantine music with late Lykourgos Angelopoulos in Athens and performed with the Greek Byzantine Choir. Hierotheos is the founder of the St. John Damascene schola cantorum in Novi Sad, Serbia, where he also teaches church chanting.

    More Info


Reich Triple Quartet (Third Movement)
Kronos Quartet and Friends

At a Glance

Kronos Quartet brings to Carnegie Hall the New York premiere of the multimedia production Beyond Zero: 1914–1918, a collaboration with composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and filmmaker Bill Morrison. Written to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Beyond Zero interweaves music, archival audio recordings, and films of the Great War that, until now, have never been seen by modern audiences. Beyond Zero is Vrebalov’s fifth score for Kronos. Born in Novi Sad, she came of age amidst the Bosnian War of the early 1990s, which led to the dissolution of her native Yugoslavia. Morrison makes poetic use of decaying archival film stock, finding poignancy in the distorted, blotted images that arise as dyes and emulsions deteriorate.

The program also features a pair of world premieres: the string quartet version of Dutch composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven’s inventive On Parole, in which Kronos will be joined by the gifted student musicians of Face the Music; and Canadian composer Derek Charke’s ecologically minded Dear Creator, help us return to the centre of our hearts, which was inspired by a visit Charke made to the Athabasca oil sands in northern Alberta, where an economic boom is underway. Completing the program is Bryce Dessner’s luminous Tenebre, written for Kronos in 2011 to mark the 50th birthday of the quartet’s longtime lighting designer Larry Neff, as well as his 25th anniversary with Kronos.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Signatures.

Part of