With presenters 836M and Illuminate, we are proud to announce a free concert kicking off the Bay Area season of KRONOS FIVE DECADES, a yearlong celebration of San Francisco’s legendary Kronos Quartet, now in its 50th year. The program for the concert will include new works and signature pieces from Kronos’ vast repertoire, including music by Bob Dylan, Angélique Kidjo, Nicole Lizée, Clint Mansell and Sigur Rós.
With critical funding from 836M and Illuminate, two nonprofits that support the creation of public art, the concert will take place on August 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Bandshell in Golden Gate Park. The Bandshell is the oldest structure in the Park’s Music Concourse, an open-air plaza built for the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894.
For 50 years, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Paul Wiancko (cello)—has challenged and reimagined what a string quartet can be. Founded at a time when the form was largely centered on long-established, Western European traditions, Kronos has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the string quartet into a living art form that responds to the people and issues of our time.
“The Bandshell, framed by science, art and multiple gardens, with its regal placement and iconic shape, has focused sound into the hearts of San Franciscans for nearly the entire history of Kronos,” said Harrington, Kronos founder and artistic director. “As we begin our 50th year, Kronos is honored to make our Bandshell debut. What a thrill and renewal it will be to play at this beautiful gem in the beating heart and breathing lungs of our city for our friends and neighbors.”
Kronos Quartet’s Bay Area 50th anniversary season continues with major events next year at Stanford Live on January 27, Cal Performances on March 2, at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center on April 4, and at the Kronos Festival in June, dates to be announced.
The complete calendar of events is available at kronosquartet.org/upcoming-events.
“836M is thrilled to offer free concerts and other live performances for the San Francisco community,” said 836M Programming Director Céline Ricci. “Kronos is a local treasure, and we are especially proud to support the organization in celebration of its major milestone. We also look forward to expanding our musical offerings at our venue at 836 Montgomery Street and throughout the city.”
The presentation of the Kronos Quartet this summer follows on last year’s successful presentation by 836M of L’Imperatrice at the Conservatory of Flowers. The French disco pop band performed as part of the dedication event for La Rose des Vents, a monumental sculpture located in Golden Gate Park. The sculpture created by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel belongs to San Francisco’s Civic Art Collection as a gift from 836M.
“What an incredible way to close out San Francisco’s summer season by celebrating the iconic Kronos Quartet in a beautiful landmark like the Golden Gate Bandshell,” said Ben Davis, Illuminate founder. “We are honored to play a role in kicking off the Bay Area season of Kronos Five Decades. Illuminate seeks to help free humanity’s better nature through public works of art that inspire awe in all San Franciscans, and Kronos is the perfect partner to help bring that vision to life.”
Illuminate has been producing free concerts in San Francisco since August 2021 with over 300 shows at the Golden Gate Bandshell and 250 performances at the JFK Music Mosey. The weekly concerts at both the Bandshell and JFK Promenade have reached over 250,000 attendees each year. Other installations include The Bay Lights, The Conservatory of Flowers and, most recently, Welcome, the world’s largest Pride flag, shining 4+ miles down Market St.
For information about transportation to and from Golden Gate Park and accessibility inside the park, visit sfrecpark.org/1159/Getting-to-Golden-Gate-Park.