The San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet, featuring David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello), has remained committed to fearlessly exploring and re-imagining the string quartet experience for more than 40 years. 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 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with some of the world’s most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 850 works and arrangements for string quartet.
Kronos’ work has also been 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 for “Dracula” (a 1999 restored edition of the 1931 Tod Browning–Bela Lugosi classic) and the Darren Aronofsky films “Noah” (2014), “The Fountain” (2006), and “Requiem for a Dream” (2000). Additional films featuring Kronos music include “The Great Beauty” (2013), “Heat” (1995), and “True Stories” (1986).
The ensemble’s expansive discography ranges from a showcase of African-born composers, a ten-disc anthology, a Grammy- and Latin Grammy–nominated celebration of Mexican culture; and the 2004 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite, featuring renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw. In celebration of the quartet’s 40th anniversary season in 2014, Nonesuch Records released both Kronos Explorer Series, a five-CD retrospective boxed set, and the single-disc, A Thousand Thoughts, featuring mostly unreleased recordings from throughout the group’s career.
The quartet is also committed to mentoring emerging performers and composers and leads workshops, master classes, and other education programs via the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and other institutions in the U.S. and overseas.
“The influence of Kronos Quartet has been felt by virtually any quartet operating today, even those who are not doing stuff on the fringe,” said Nicholas Cords, the violist for Brooklyn Rider, in an interview with The New York Times. “They have had a huge role in generating interest in what a string quartet can do.”
Kronos Quartet spends five months of each year on tour, appearing in concert halls, clubs, and festivals around the world. Catch them at the Alberta Bair Theater in Billings Feb. 11, 2016, the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky Feb. 12, 2016, and at the Performing Arts Center in Hamilton Feb. 14, 2016.
For more on this extraordinary group, visit them at kronosquartet.org.