About Kronos’ Fifty for the Future
Kronos Quartet/Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA), the San Francisco-based non-profit organization of the Kronos Quartet, has launched Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, a string quartet commissioning, performance, education, and legacy project of unprecedented scope and potential impact. Drawing on more than forty years of collaboration with prominent and emerging composers from around the world, Kronos is commissioning a library of fifty works designed to guide young amateur and early-career professional string quartets in developing and honing the skills required for the performance of 21st-century repertoire. Each of the fifty works will be an artistically complete composition that will be premiered by Kronos with the entire Fifty for the Future body of work becoming a core component of its own repertoire over five performance seasons (2015/2016 through 2019/2020). Digital versions of the scores and parts, recordings, and other pedagogical materials for each work can be accessed here on our website free of charge.
Joining KPAA as Lead Partner for Kronos’ Fifty for the Future project is Carnegie Hall. In conjunction with the launch of its 125th Anniversary celebration in 2015/2016, Carnegie Hall will present Kronos concerts, produce community performances, and host educational workshops featuring this new repertoire during the five years of the project. An adventurous group of presenters, academic institutions, and other arts organizations will participate as Legacy Partners and Commissioning Partners, engaging in performances and educational programs that feature the musical works and related resources that are developed over the course of the project. Through jointly designed master classes, workshops, and residencies, Kronos will work with each of these core partners to extend the reach of their own educational programs within their communities. Kronos' Fifty for the Future program also receives generous support from foundations, corporations, and individual donors.
The Need: “Why Fifty New Compositions?”
There is no shortage of string quartet repertoire or educational resources available to today’s young musicians who wish to specialize in the canon of works from Haydn through the mid-20th century. But there is no coordinated body of work devoted to the most contemporary approaches to the string quartet, designed expressly for the training of students and emerging professionals. Kronos’ Fifty for the Future project is a response to this need, providing young performers with the ability to immerse themselves in contemporary approaches to string quartet literature and performance and also to develop as players by working their way through the levels of complexity and difficulty within the repertoire. This new set of resources will present string quartet music as a living art form, providing emerging musicians with both an indispensable library of learning materials as well as a blueprint for their own future collaborations with composers.
The Composers & Compositions
For more than four decades the Kronos Quartet has collaborated with composers representing the highest level of artistic excellence along with tremendous stylistic and cultural diversity. Kronos' Fifty for the Future works will be commissioned from a similarly eclectic group of composers - 25 women and 25 men – representing the truly globe- spanning genres of string quartet literature in the early 21st century. The project compositions are intended to be approachable by musicians of a wide range of accomplishment, from youth ensembles to beginning professionals. Kronos/KPAA has commissioned more than 850 works since it was formed in 1973, but Fifty for the Future represents the largest single artistic and educational project that it has undertaken.
Access to the Project
Within months after Kronos' Fifty for the Future compositions are created, they will be made available here on our website free of charge. Each of the new pieces will be presented as a stand-alone module and include downloadable sheet music (scores and parts) complemented by a variety of materials appropriate to the work, such as recordings of Kronos performing each piece, written and/or video interviews with the composers, program notes and videos illustrating specific techniques, background material on sources and inspiration for the works, and more. After the body of work is complete, difficulty rankings will be assigned to each work.