The most provocative contemporary music ensemble, the Kronos Quartet has
dedicated 44 years to the singular artistic vision of expanding the potentials
of a string quartet. Now it returns to Korea in 10 years since 2007.
In 1973, the current 1st violinist David Harrington founded Kronos
Quartet, inspired by George Crumb’s(1929~) ‘Black Angels’, a work that uncovers
the brutality and the meaninglessness of the Vietnam War. Ever since its
foundation, the Kronos has actively expressed its will to create music for
humans, music that holds a living zeitgeist. The group continued daring experiments
that challenged the perceived notions of a string quartet. Until now the Kronos
has premiered over 850 works, re-inventing a new form and content for string
quartets. The quartet has also been continuously pushing boundaries through
their extensive collaborations with masters of contemporary music, including
John Adams, Henryk Gorecki, Steve Reich, Arvo Part, and Astor Piazzolla, as well as the jazz
legend Ornette Coleman, rock stars like Jimi Hendrix and Sigur Ros, and world musicians like Wu Man and Asha Bhosle.
In the Korean performance, the Kronos Quartet will return to its origin
and perform “Black Angels” and “Different Trains”, a work written by Steve
Reich(1936~), which was first premiered by the Kronos and won the Grammy Award
in 1989. “Black Angels” is performed not only with four string instruments, but
together with effective lighting, shoutings of performers, glasses of water at
different tone heights, and a gong, sustaining a level of tension from the
beginning till the end. In “Different Trains”, even the voice of a person
talking becomes part of the melody, synchronized with the string quartet. It
will be a seminal experience to witness the groundbreaking vision of the
Kronos, a group that set the milestone for numerous contemporary musicians.