Kronos Quartet Celebrates 40th Anniversary with East Coast Premiere by Philip Glass, October 24

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

College Park, MD— The Kronos Quartet celebrates its 40th anniversary with a performance at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s Kay Theatre on October 24 at 8 pm.  To pay tribute to Kronos Quartet’s 40 years of innovative music-making, the Center has co-commissioned legendary American composer Philip Glass to write a new work, String Quartet No. 6, which will make its East Coast premiere as the centerpiece of Kronos’ performance. This performance will be the debut of Sunny Yang, Kronos Quartet’s new cellist, at the Center.

The program will also feature John Oswald’s Spectre; Geeshie Wiley’s “Last Kind Words,” arrangement by Jacob Garchik;  Alter Yecheil Karniol’s Sim Sholom, arrangement by Judith Berkson; Nicole Lizée’s Hymnals; Yuri Boguinia’s On the Wings of Pegasus; and Pamela Z’s And the Movement of the Tongue. 

About the Kronos Quartet and Philip Glass Collaboration

String Quartet No. 6 marks the most recent collaboration between Philip Glass and Kronos Quartet, as they have worked together frequently since 1985. The quartet commissioned String Quartet No. 5 in 1991 and released the album Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass in 1993.  Additionally, for 15 years Glass performed the soundtrack for the 1931 film Dracula with Kronos Quartet live at various performances. (Michael Riesman conducted, and Glass performed an additional piano part.) Glass calls this latest collaboration “the most recent result of a long and ripening friendship between myself and the Kronos Quartet.”

Glass’ newest commission for the quartet is, as Glass says, “At about a half hour of music, it is a work of significant length. The musical language itself remains firmly 'post-minimalist,' as almost everything has been since 1976. It also remains firmly 'tonal,' using pan-harmonic and polyharmonic sequences in a rhythmic setting which is, in turn, based on a binary system of twos and threes. This allows for a unified harmonic/rhythmic music in which the resulting melodic material, though basically ambivalent, can be easily heard as harmonic and enharmonic pitches. All this is cast into a three-movement work in which the parts, though structurally separate, flow into each other, much as the movements of my String Quartet No. 5.”

Philip Glass's String Quartet No. 6 was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland; The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in the Faculty of Arts at The University of British Columbia; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Philharmonic Society of Orange County; The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas, Nevada; and David A. and Evelyne T. Lennette.  The world premiere performance will take place on October 19, 2013, at The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

About Kronos Quartet

For 40 years, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world's most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos is the only recipient of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize and has also earned a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and “Musicians of the Year” (2003) honors from Musical America.

A non-profit organization, the Kronos Quartet/Kronos Performing Arts Association is committed to mentoring emerging musicians and composers, and to creating, performing and recording new works. Each season, Kronos works with selected young student composers within the UMD School of Music to create new works, refine the pieces for maximum musical impact and present initial readings of the works in a public event.

About Philip Glass

One of the most influential music makers of the 20th century, Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, where he earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, Glass had a number of innovative projects, creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble, and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts, and the landmark opera, Einstein on the Beach for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson.

Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). 


More information can be found on our website. Tickets for this performance are $50/$10 (Regular/Students), and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory shared by the School of Music (SOM), the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) and the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. The Center made its debut in 2001 and has grown into a national model for campus performing arts centers, presenting performances and programs by visiting artists as well as by students and faculty of SOM and TDPS in an environment of creative learning, exploration and growth. The Center remains active in the larger university community through its innovative partnerships and extraordinary experiences.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. This performance is also made possible in part by support from The MARPAT Foundation.