As a direct protest to the 2017 Executive Orders limiting travel to the United States by people from largely Muslim-majority countries, San Francisco’s Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet, with Persian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, brings a Boston premiere program featuring music from the original seven “banned” countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—among others. Kronos’ Music for Change: The Banned Countries highlights a rich diversity of artistic voices, including works composed specifically for the performance, new collaborations, and signature works from Kronos’ extensive repertoire.
David Harrington, violin,
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Sunny Yang, cello
Mahsa Vahdat, vocals
“All told, [‘Music for Change: The Banned Countries’] amounts to a rich and distinctive mixtape, amplifying themes of dignity, resistance, and harmonious coexistence. ”The New Yorker
“It’s hard to imagine a time when the Kronos Quartet was not emphatically crossing musical boundaries … But its latest project responds cogently to an era of increasingly policed and politicized borders. ”The New York Times
For over 45 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet – David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello) – 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, releasing more than 60 recordings, collaborating with many of the world’s most accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning over 1,000 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos has received over 40 awards, including the prestigious Polar Music Prize, Avery Fisher Prize, and the Edison Klassiek Oeuvreprijs for career achievement.
Integral to Kronos’ work is a series of long-running collaborations with many of the world’s foremost composers, including Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Philip Glass, Nicole Lizée, Vladimir Martynov, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Aleksandra Vrebalov. Additional collaborators have included Sam Amidon, Laurie Anderson, Asha Bhosle, Noam Chomsky, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Green, Zakir Hussain, múm, Trevor Paglen, Van Dyke Parks, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Tanya Tagaq, Trio Da Kali, Mahsa Vahdat, Tom Waits, Wu Man, and Howard Zinn.
On tour for five months per year, Kronos appears in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, clubs, and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on recordings, including two Grammy-winning albums – Landfall with Laurie Anderson (2018) and Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite featuring Dawn Upshaw (2003) – both released by longtime label Nonesuch Records. Among Kronos’ recent releases are Ladilikan (World Circuit Records) with Trio Da Kali, an ensemble of Malian griot musicians assembled by Aga Khan Music Initiative; Placeless (Kirkelig Kulturverksted) with Iranian vocalists Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat, and Sun Rings (Nonesuch), composed by Terry Riley for string quartet, chorus and pre-recorded spacescapes.
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 the annual Kronos Festival. In 2015, Kronos launched 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, an education and legacy project that is commissioning—and distributing online for free—50 new works for string quartet composed by 25 women and 25 men.