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May 14, 2015

David Harrington Remembers Jack Body

We were saddened to learn that Jack Body - composer, ethnomusicologist, teacher, producer, and longtime Kronos collaborator - died last weekend. David Harrington shares fond memories of his friend and colleague, including recollections of their collaboration during Kronos’ first tour in New Zealand.

“I’ll never forget that moment in New Zealand right after Kronos premiered Jack Body’s Three Transcriptions, which he wrote for our very first tour there in 1988. All of a sudden I knew absolutely for certain that a concert, even one piece, could take the imaginations of listeners to wildly different places and different sound worlds. The dimensions of what our work might be able to be were expanded immeasurably by Jack’s piece, our relationship with him and by that particular concert. In this friendly man with the bright smile who composed, was an ethnomusicologist, taught young composers, produced recordings—we had found a huge force in music. All the work of Kronos since then has tried to expand on that one potent, blissful moment. I credit Jack Body with expanding the limits of my imagination and enlarging the scope of the work of Kronos.

Over the years, Jack also wrote Arum Manis and Epicycle for us, and contributed to our theatrical work A Chinese Home. I have many letters from Jack asking if I’ve heard the work of a young composer or a particular form of music or any number of his other passions he delighted in sharing. He happily scattered beautiful musical seeds around the world and his plants are growing beautifully. Jack always exemplified what a musician ought to be: a sharer of music, the very best we can find. He always shared his enthusiasms whole heartedly and generously and you could always count on Jack to know more about almost everything than anyone else. Every time I say the word ‘terrific’ (a favorite word of Jack’s) I see his smile. What a fabulous person, great composer and musical spark-plug was Jack Body. What a huge loss for music.”

- David Harrington, Kronos Quartet

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