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May 31, 2016

Trinity Laban honors Kronos

On May 11, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance gave an Honorary Fellowship to Kronos Quartet. All four members of the quartet – David Harrington, John Sherba, Hank Dutt and Sunny Yang – and Janet Cowperthwaite, managing director of Kronos Performing Arts Association, were deeply honored by the citation read by Dr. Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music at Trinity Laban, which included the following tribute:

“The Kronos Quartet’s significance extends far beyond the realms of classical chamber music, and for us at Trinity Laban, they provide an exceptional model of the vision, mission and values we aspire to exemplify. Their commitment to making a contribution to society – striving through music to inspire those who hear it to greater things – is truly inspirational. It is no exaggeration to say that thanks to their work, our conception of what a string quartet can be has changed radically, and for the better. It is for these reasons that Trinity Laban wishes today to honour Kronos Quartet with this Honorary Fellowship.”

Pictured (left to right): Dr Claire Mera-Nelson, Janet Cowperthwaite (Managing Director of Kronos Performing Arts Association), David Harrington, John Sherba, Sunny Yang, Hank Dutt, Professor Anthony Bowne (Principal of Trinity Laban). Image: JK Photography

After the quartet spent a day at Trinity Laban, coaching student chamber music groups and talking with student composers, they were presented with their Honorary Fellowship by Lord Lipsey, Chairman of Trinity Laban, at a special celebratory event attended by 200 staff and students. During the celebration, Trinity Laban staff and students re-imagined pieces of music chosen by the Kronos Quartet’s Artistic Director, David Harrington:

   • Terry Riley’s In C was refashioned as a dance
   • Ken Benshoof’s Traveling Music was reworked for brass quintet and dancers
   • The Beatles’ “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” was arranged for vocal quartet
   • Armenian folk song “Groung” was reinterpreted by a jazz combo

Between these performances, Dominic Murcott – Head of Composition at Trinity Laban – interviewed the quartet about their musical loves and experiences.

Kronos at Trinity Laban from Trinity Laban on Vimeo.


Of the evening, David Harrington, artistic director, violinist and founding member of the quartet, said: “The ceremony that was organized and produced by the faculty and students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance was a thrilling career highlight for us. We were all delightfully surprised, entertained and moved by the evening’s program, which included everything Kronos strives for as musicians. That this magical, perfect celebration followed the beautiful afternoon that we shared with the inspiring music students made it all the more special.”

“The members of the quartet and the staff of KPAA are deeply honored by this recognition from such a prestigious institution,” said Janet Cowperthwaite, managing director of Kronos Performing Arts Association. “We are grateful for the warm welcome we have received from Trinity Laban, which shares so many of the tenets of our organization’s mission, including creativity, exploration, collaboration, encouragement, and mentoring.”

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