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August 11, 2014

Quartet Fans Share ‘Kronos Stories’: Part 1

This past June, as the Kronos Quartet wrapped up its 40th Anniversary Season, we asked our e-news subscribers and Facebook fans to share with us their favorite Kronos memories and stories. The response was terrific, and we’re happy to post over the next several weeks a selection of these “Kronos Stories.” Many thanks to everyone who took the time to reflect on the role of Kronos in their lives and share their thoughts and experiences with us!

(Note: Punctuation has been standardized, and some entries have been edited lightly for brevity or clarity.)

I had a strange experience years ago, driving to work a sunny autumn day between mountains and forest in the north of Sweden. No traffic around me. Turned the radio on and there was a fantastic melody that totally captured me. Had to stop to listen and while so, I sensed and saw a huge angel (can’t describe it any other way) before me on the sky. An enormous and sad feeling appeared and then just emptiness… I was quite stirred after the experience and had to check out what the music was. Turned out to be the Kronos Quartet and Black Angels. Life-changing experience to me, immensely thankful for that moment!
—Susanne Nordin

We walked through the dark
A distant place, a distant time ago
Having danced to a neo-punk band
The midnight air, ice-cold after the crowded room,
Covered us in the mist of a cold, damp shawl

We sat and drank coffee in an all-night café
Too early to sleep, or call the day’s end
And as the clock moved slowly to morning
We sat silent and smiled as the air was filled
With a violin calling us to listen

Hunters Gatherers filled the room
With rhythms driving our minds
Strings rising, falling like the breath in our lungs
A journey to a world of an unknown kind
Played within the sounds

We drained the coffee from our cups
In another place to the one we were in
Neon lights disappearing from the night
Blinded by a sun burning over an African plain
Until silence came
And wearily, we travelled ten thousand miles home
to the mist
of an ice-cold midnight morning
—Ian Foletta

I first heard of the Kronos Quartet years ago on a movie soundtrack. I just loved the different take on music. I then had the amazing opportunity to see them perform at University of Michigan’s Power Center and it was absolutely phenomenal. The experimental quality to the music, the risks, the chances, it was… it left a mark. It was my first foray beyond the traditional string quartet. I’ve looked back at that moment as the beginning of my realization of adulthood. My identity did not need to be defined by the traditional.
—William Gibbins

Back in the 90s, I was working in a public library. A teenage kid, that I much liked, for he was a good reader, came to me and said “I must do a research in class on my favorite band, do you have anything on the Kronos Quartet?” I was astounded. By “favorite band” I guess the teacher was expecting the students to do their work on New Kids on the Block or, at best, on Nirvana. I helped him as much as I could, we searched in music magazines, encyclopedias, etc. I think this fourteen-year-old boy was also quite surprised that the “lady of the library” knew - and liked - Kronos Quartet.
—Chloe Baril

I have been a fan of Kronos for a few years now, but I never thought I would get to see a live performance by them. This last winter I got my wish. Kronos performed at Notre Dame University in South Bend, IN. My father never listens to much music outside of classic rock, but I talked him into going with me. This was a particularly rough winter and it began to snow pretty hard by the time we made it to South Bend (my father lives an hour away from there, and I live an hour further from him). We were nervous about the drive back, but determined. Kronos absolutely nailed their performance and my father and I were both happy for the opportunity to see such great musicians as well as the rare bonding time. By this time the snow was thick and we could hardly see. It took us twice as long to make it back to my dad’s house and then twice as long for me to make it back to my house! All told, it was the most thrilling (and dangerous) show I have experienced in many years.
—Michael Wadkins


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