Support for The '60s: The Years that Changed America is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation.
Lead support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by members of Carnegie Hall's Composer Club.
For more than 40 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine 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 60 recordings, collaborating with many of the world’s most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 900 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos has received over 40 awards, including the Polar Music Prize and Avery Fisher Prize—two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians.
Since 1973, Kronos has built a compellingly eclectic repertoire for string quartet, performing and recording works by 20th-century masters (Bartók, Schnittke); contemporary composers (Osvaldo Golijov, Vladimir Martynov, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Sahba Aminikia); jazz legends (Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk); rock artists (Jimi Hendrix, The Who’s Pete Townshend); 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 on an all-Glass CD in 1995 and recent premieres of String Quartet No. 6 (2013) and String Quartet No. 7 (2014); Azerbaijan’s Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, featured on the 2005 CD Mugam Sayagi; Steve Reich, with whom Kronos has recorded the Grammy-winning composition Different Trains (1989); and many more.
Kronos has collaborated regularly with performing artists from around the world, including Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man, performance artist Laurie Anderson, Azeri vocalist Alim Qasimov, legendary Bollywood “playback singer” Asha Bhosle, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, and visual artist Trevor Paglen. Kronos has also performed and/or recorded with the likes of Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Angélique Kidjo, Zakir Hussain, Tom Waits, k.d. lang, Van Dyke Parks, Caetano Veloso, and múm. In dance, famed choreographers Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Eiko & Koma, and Sol León and Paul Lightfoot of Nederlands Dans Theater have created pieces with Kronos’ music.
Kronos’ work has been featured prominently in films, including the Academy Award–nominated documentaries How to Survive a Plague (2012) and Dirty Wars (2013). Kronos also recorded full scores by Philip Glass (Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters and Dracula); Clint Mansell (The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream); Terry Riley (Hochelaga, terre des âmes); and others.
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’ most recent releases include the One Earth, One People, One Love: Kronos Plays Terry Riley box set; Folk Songs, which features Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, Rhiannon Giddens, and Natalie Merchant singing traditional folk songs; Ladilikan, a collaborative album with Trio da Kali, a “super-group” of Malian griot musicians assembled by Aga Khan Music Initiative; and vinyl re-releases of Pieces of Africa and Dracula, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain official soundtracks.
The nonprofit Kronos Performing Arts Association manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours and home season performances, education programs, and a self-produced Kronos Festival. In 2015, Kronos launched Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, an education and legacy project that is commissioning—and distributing for free—the first learning library of contemporary repertoire for string quartet.