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September 08, 2014

‘Kronos Stories’ from Fans: Part 2

We continue our series of “Kronos Stories”—favorite Kronos memories and anecdotes submitted this past June by fans of the Quartet from around the world.

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

Very simply, being blown away while listening to the radio during my undergraduate studies. A late night cleaning classrooms for my work study at BYU, and whomever was at the controls of the radio station that witching hour played Pieces of Africa. I had never heard anything like it. Fast forward to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin where I first heard Black Angels while studying African history (MA ‘00). Then, a decade later I took my daughter, who was playing viola in high school at the time, to see Hank Dutt do a solo performance at UW. The circle, complete, rolls on.
—Forrest Aguirre

Kronos - God of Time
The male deity from Ancient Greece was known as the God of Time; a divine descendant of the earth and sky. Kronos Quartet lead an impromptu and cacophonic ensemble to an incredibly high apex sustained by a stratospheric Theremin.
—Ken Van Wyk

We drove to Northampton MA on a terrifically cold January night in 1999 to see Kronos at the Calvin Theater.  When my wife Ellen ordered our tickets over the phone, she was told that for an additional fee we could guarantee being seated somewhere in the 1st seven rows.

When we arrived an usher led us to the front row.  We were early, so we sat for 45 minutes, watching the middle section of the theater fill completely—except for Row 1, where we sat alone.  The lights went down, and as the quartet walked on stage Ellen turned to me and said “I wish we’d dressed better.”  No one ever arrived to claim the other dozen or so seats.

I still sometimes wonder what the members of Kronos made of the situation.  It was 15 years ago, but I’ve got to think at least one of them remembers the 2 people sitting in an otherwise empty 1st row.

The concert was wonderful, featuring a completely unexpected Different Trains.  Even less expected was seeing David Harrington nodding directly to us as the quartet stood acknowledging the audience’s ovation.  Of course, we were easy to notice.
—Bill Conlon

I have many great Kronos memories but the best memory is always the most recent (kinda like sex). Daniel Handler’s intro story to Crumb’s Black Angels @ Zellerbach Berkeley last year was sweet as I too tried to impress a girl in high school by playing Black Angels. Sadly, I did not end up marrying her.
—Mark Prather

Editor’s Note: Author Daniel Handler tells a version of this tale in his own “Kronos Stories” video. Click here, then scroll down the page.

My memory predates the beginnings of the Kronos Quartet by a few months.  I moved into an apartment in the La Paz Apartments in Seattle’s University District in the summer of 1973, and David Harrington was living down at the end of the hall on my floor.  Every now and then I’d hear practicing, and since I was a music history grad student at UW, I really enjoyed it.  It’s been fun over the years to observe the growing fame and renown of this great ensemble.  My part in this story?  I didn’t complain to the building manager about contemporary string music that was a bit spirited at times.  smile
—Glenda Williams


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