- January 08, 2014
Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere - Bombs of Beirut by Mary Kouyoumdjian
The Kronos Quartet / Kronos Performing Arts Association is proud to announce Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere, a series of four concerts featuring the world premiere of Mary Kouyoumdjian’s Bombs of Beirut, the 5th work commissioned through the Under 30 Project. Launched in 2003, the Under 30 Project is designed to help nurture the careers of young artists, while enabling Kronos to forge stronger connections with the next creative generation. Each show also features a special locally-based opener: Friction Quartet (Feb. 6), Mobius Trio (Feb. 7), The Living Earth Show (Feb. 8), Amy X Neuburg (Feb. 9.) Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere will take place February 6 – 9, 2014 at Z Space in San Francisco. Purchase tickets here.
Kouyoumdjian, who lives in New York and grew up in the Bay Area, was chosen from a call for composers that yielded nearly 400 applicants in 43 countries on five continents, the largest response in the program’s history. Upon her selection, she was commissioned to write a work for Kronos. Her new work, Bombs of Beirut, is a 23-minute piece for string quartet with prerecorded backing track and live processing.
A first-generation Armenian-American whose family was directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, Kouyoumdjian was inspired to create a work that would reflect day-to-day life during wartime in Beirut. Bombs of Beirut includes interviews with the composer’s family and friends about their experience in the war, together with recordings of ambient sounds taken from an apartment balcony during the war. Those recordings include the sounds of missiles hurtling through the air and bombs exploding nearby.
Organized into three connected movements, the piece is designed, says Kouyoumdjian, “to put a human face on violent events in the Middle East and to arouse feelings of disorder and nostalgia.”
The latest installment of the Kronos: Under 30 Project was open to all composers who had not reached the age of 30 by the application deadline. Choosing a recipient from the hundreds of applicants was no simple matter: “What people are writing now is amazing, just thrilling,” says Kronos Quartet Artistic Director David Harrington. “As we narrowed down the field, we were looking for someone who seemed poised to write their breakthrough piece. And every time I came back to Mary’s work, I was magnetized. She’s an exceptional composer, incredibly creative, and her connection to her family’s Armenian history has brought her sensibility into a very beautiful place.”
Each evening Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere will open with a performance by a special guest artist based in the Bay Area. Those guests include Friction Quartet, a string quartet with a reputation for edgy programming and the commissioning of new works, performing February 6; Mobius Trio, an ensemble of three guitars dedicated to contemporary music, performing February 7; The Living Earth Show, an electro-acoustic guitar and percussion duo which specializes in contemporary compositions, performing February 8; and Amy X Neuburg, a well known Oakland based genre-crossing artist known for her 4-octave vocal range, innovative use of live looping technology, and ‘avant-cabaret’ songs, performing February 9.
The Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere series will feature two different programs. On Thursday and Friday Kronos will perform works by Krzysztof Penderecki, John Oswald, Bryce Dessner and Dan Becker. On Saturday and Sunday the Quartet will perform works by Krzysztof Penderecki, John Oswald, Geeshie Wiley, Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley and more.
Since its inception in 2003, Kronos: Under 30 Project has commissioned a total of five pieces. Previous commissions include: Alexandra du Bois’ String Quartet: Oculus Pro Oculo Totum Orbem Terrae Caecat (2003), Felipe Pérez Santiago’s CampoSanto (2004), Dan Visconti’s Love Bleeds Radiant (2006) and Aviya Kopelman’s Widows & Lovers (2007).
Learn more about Kronos: Under 30 / #5 World Premiere and purchase tickets here.
THE THING Quarterly
Kronos at 40: Instruments from the Collection
Listening session with David Harrington at THE THING Quarterly Office – January 13, 2014, 7 PM
Center for New Music
Kronos at 40: Instruments from the Collection
Open rehearsal with Mary Kouyoumdjian at Center for New Music – January 28, 2014, 7 PM
Kronos’ San Francisco home season at Z Space is supported by a generous grant from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and The Bernard Osher Foundation.
Kronos: Under 30 Project / #5 is supported by Hancher at the University of Iowa, Syracuse University, the Board of Directors of the Kronos Performing Arts Association, and individual backers of the Kronos: Under 30 Project / #5 Kickstarter campaign. Additional support was provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Residency Program at Montalvo Arts Center.
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