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June 19, 2014

A Message from David Harrington

“Kronos has led and continues to lead what surely must be the longest unending revolution by any ensemble ever in music history.” —Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2014

I was really happy to read that statement above from L.A. Times critic Mark Swed, in his review of our “Kronos at Forty” concert at UCLA—not just because it’s so positive about Kronos, but because of the word “revolution.” I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the “Kronos revolution”—and all the thousands of artists and listeners who’ve made it possible—as we invite our extended Kronos family to support our Kickstarter project.

My goal for Kronos has always been to be a revolutionary force, not just in making music, but in exploring the ways that music can increase our understanding of our times and our connection to people around the world. We always want to try new ways of doing things, and to invite as many new voices as possible to join in our musical and cultural conversation. That’s why, over the past four decades, the Kronos Quartet and our non-profit Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) have collaborated with hundreds of composers from throughout the globe, creating more than 800 new compositions and arrangements for quartet.

Another characteristic of revolutions, in addition to uniting large numbers of people behind new ways of thinking, is that they often begin with a single spark, at just the right moment. It’s a pattern that holds true for Kronos: many of our greatest commissioned pieces have come about at the exact point in time when a composer was ready to write what I call a “break-out” work, to move to a new level as an artist. And it’s crucial that KPAA has been there to provide essential support at those critical moments.

It’s with this in mind that I’m writing you today, to ask you to donate to our Kickstarter project in support of four commissioned works—two new compositions and two new arrangements—to be made possible by the David Harrington Research & Development Fund. This fund was created for me, as Kronos’ Artistic Director, to identify and support those projects whose critical moment is now—the projects where, if the spark happens later on, it will simply be too late.

In the past few years, my R&D Fund has supported almost 50 of these “act now” pieces—works by Henryk Górecki, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Bryce Dessner, Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, and many others. This Kickstarter project is your opportunity to join this revolution in music with us, as we bring four new and incredible pieces of music into the world. I can’t wait to share them with you—and I thank you in advance for your generous support!

Yours sincerely,

David Harrington


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