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March 06, 2015

World Premiere - Derek Charke’s “Dear Creator, help us return to the centre of our hearts”

Kronos Quartet returns to Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on Saturday, March 7 at 9 pm, bringing the world premiere of Derek Charke’s Dear Creator, help us return to the centre of our hearts, which was inspired by a visit Charke made to the Athabasca Oil Sands in northern Alberta, where an economic boom is underway. Writes Charke: “Dear Creator is a reflection of my experience from this trip. A soundtrack accompanies the quartet, but not constantly. At first is it subtle. Sounds of trucks and heavy equipment, sounds of steam from the processing plants, sounds of wildlife, birds and nature from the beautiful landscapes that surround the mines, sounds of traffic on highway 63, and the sounds of people; workers at the Finning repair shop, dump truck drivers, an airplane pilot, a community gathering in Fort McKay, and young kids swearing in Fort Chipewyan are interspersed throughout the 30 minutes of a fully notated string quartet score.

“During my travels I searched for a way to respect the human element. The breakthrough came when I met Elsie Yanik, a 94 year-old Métis Elder originally from Fort Chipewyan who lives in an apartment in downtown Fort McMurray. Elsie encapsulates my feelings best when she says: ‘We were all given freedom. And with that freedom, you have choices.’”

The program at Zankel Hall also includes the world premiere (string quartet version) of Dutch composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven’s inventive On Parole, featuring the gifted student musicians of Face the Music. A major highlight is the New York premiere of Kronos’ ambitious multimedia production Beyond Zero: 1914–1918, a collaboration with composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and filmmaker Bill Morrison. Written to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Beyond Zero: 1914–1918 interweaves music, archival audio recordings, and films of the Great War that, until now, have never been seen by modern audiences. Beyond Zero: 1914–1918 made its debut last April at Cal Performances in Berkeley, and has been presented by the quartet on tour to widespread acclaim. Reviewing a performance at the Edinburgh International Festival, The Scotsman called the 40-minute work “viscerally powerful, both shocking and fascinating in equal measure…set alongside the Kronos’ rich, expressive performance, it was an unforgettable experience.” Bryce Dessner’s luminous Tenebre completes the program.

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