For 40 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 re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the world’s most celebrated and influential ensembles, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings, 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. A Grammy winner, Kronos is also the only recipient of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize.
Integral to Kronos’ work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world’s foremost composers, including Americans Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich; Azerbaijan’s Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; Poland’s Henryk Górecki; and Serbia’s Aleksandra Vrebalov. Additional collaborators in concert and/or on disc have included Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man, performance artist Laurie Anderson, Azeri vocalist Alim Qasimov, legendary Bollywood “playback singer” Asha Bhosle, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, and rockers Tom Waits, Amon Tobin, and the Icelandic group Sigur Rós.
The quartet spends five months per year on tour, appearing in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, clubs, and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on recordings, including the Nonesuch Records releases Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers that simultaneously topped Billboard’s Classical and World Music lists; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy–nominated celebration of Mexican culture; the 2004 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite; and Music of Vladimir Martynov (2011).
With a staff of ten based in San Francisco, the non-profit Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours and home-season performances, and education programs.