Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Kronos Quartet continues to push the boundaries of the string quartet

Jon Rose's "Music for 4 Fences"
Photo: Christina Johnson

It must be so much fun to be in the Kronos Quartet. Violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler walk out on stage and just emanate cool. They wear denim and leather, have messy hair, awesome lighting, prerecorded electronic tracks and enjoy making noise, both traditionally beautiful and ugly. Oh, and they also dedicated their entire performance to the late historian Howard Zinn. These guys are hip. The best part is that three out of four of them are old enough to be my Dad. My Dad is cool, but certainly not like this. (Love you, Dad!)

Friday night I attended the third of four performances all featuring Jon Rose’s piece “Music from 4 Fences.” Each of the four nights also included compositions by Terry Riley, Damon Albarn of Blur & Gorillaz, (what doesn’t that guy do?) John Zorn, Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream soundtrack), and Bryce Dessner of The National. I got to hear the Mansell piece in all of its intense glory.

One of the more interesting pieces they played was commissioned for the Kronos a couple yeas ago by the Palestinian collective, the Ramallah Underground called “Tashweesh.”


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