Popular Quartet begins three-week season at Lincoln Center Out of Doors
“It’s our biggest festival,” says David Harrington, the Kronos Quartet founder and violinist, referring to Lincoln Center Out of Doors. It opens a three- week season on July 24 with a five-day program celebrating the famed music group’s 40th anniversary. He is on the phone from New Haven where the quartet recently performed before heading to London and Madrid. They have produced 45 albums and tour constantly. “We’re not only going to make it a celebration of the 40 years that it took us to get to this point but as an opportunity to think about the future and what might be possible. We like to bring a little bit of the world together. It’s an exciting time we live in right now.”
Famed for trying anything, the Kronos Quartet is so inclusive that the performances will be as varied as the collaborators, which in the past have included Merce Cunningham, Terry Riley, Nine Inches Nails and Philip Glass. This time, they join forces with Mark Dendy’s Dance & Theater Projects for the world premiere, “Ritual Cyclical,” and Red Hot + Fela Live, Tony Allen and Superhuman Happiness with the world premiere of “Music for How to Survive a Plague” and members of several indie-rock bands in an Afrobeat and Afro-futurist program.
Bill Bragin, director of public programming at Lincoln Center, has been a Kronos fan for years. “Besides its being one of the greatest performing ensembles on the planet,” he says, “members are globally minded in popular and classical forms. David and I are completely simpatico in our broad interests and excited about turning people on to all kinds of music.”
The wide-ranging line-up also includes the Kronos Quartet collaborating with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Ukrainian composer Mariana Sadovska’s on her “Chernobyl: The Harvest,” the Syrian musician Omar Souleyman, Van-Anh Vanessa Vo who plays a variety of Vietnamese instruments, the cellist, Sunny Jungin Yang, electronic musician, Amon Tobin, electronic composer, Dan Deacon and DIY ukulele-powered orchestrator, Jherek Bischoff. The Deacon work incorporates an interactive app-driven, light show that audience members can manipulate via their cell phones.
“At this moment,” Harrington says, “we have the opportunity to give confidence to the world when people are tired and fearful for the future. There’s energy coming into music now that suggests big problems can be solved. I hope that every member of the audience will take something personal from our performances, that they will be a source of energy and renewal.”
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