Creating new work is the engine of Kronos
The Kronos Performing Arts Association’s commissioning program is at the center of all that the Kronos Quartet does. Many of the pieces written for Kronos have been recorded, performed by other groups, used in dance, theater, and film projects, and heard in countless forms of media. It would not be possible to commission work without Kronos’ adventurous supporters.
At War with Ourselves
Currently in development, At War With Ourselves is an evening-length work for string quartet, chorus, and spoken word that will premiere in May 2020 at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. Composed by Michael Abels with a libretto by Nikky Finney, the work will explore race relations, social justice, and civil rights in 21st-century America. Performances will feature the Kronos Quartet, Nikky Finney, and a chorus directed by Valérie Sainte-Agathe. During the creation period, the artists will lead workshops and activities with young people served by San Francisco–based organizations Youth Speaks, 826 Valencia, and Sunset Youth Services. Funded in part by a Hewlett Foundation 50 Arts Commission and the MAP Fund, At War with Ourselves is being commissioned by the Kronos Performing Arts Association in partnership with ASU Gammage at Arizona State University, Hancher Auditorium – The University of Iowa, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, SFJAZZ, and University of South Carolina.
Michael Abels (credit Eric Schwabel), Nikky Finney (credit Forrest Clonts), and Valérie Sainte-Agathe (credit Joe Fanvu)
Music for Change: Pete Seeger @ 100
Music for Change: Pete Seeger @ 100 recently premiered in full in September 2019 at the FreshGrass Festival, which is hosted by MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Partially debuted in June 2019 during the fifth annual Kronos Festival at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, the program is a multi-artist exploration of Pete Seeger’s musical legacy to celebrate the centennial of his birth. Commissioned by the FreshGrass Foundation through The FreshGrass Composition Commission, the final program featured arrangements of 13 songs written by or popularized by Seeger or his band the Weavers, as well as a new work entitled “Storyteller” by Jacob Garchik (who also arranged many of the songs) that features archival recordings held by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Collaborators on this project have included Sam Amidon, Maria Arnal, Brian Carpenter, Lee Knight, Meklit, Aoife O’Donovan, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
Lee Knight, Brian Carpenter, Aoife O’Donovan, Mary Alice Amidon, Sam Amidon, and Peter Amidon perform with Kronos Quartet during the premiere of Pete Seeger @ 100 at the 2019 FreshGrass Music Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts, on September 20, 2019 / credit Hilary Saunders for No Depression
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