Education and Community
"We have been given a wealth of spirit and knowledge that we hope to share"
“There are certain experiences in life that set the bar higher,” says David Harrington, Kronos Quartet’s artistic director, founder, and violinist. “One of them for me was when in 1974 Rostislav Dubinsky, the Borodin Quartet’s first violinist, spent three hours going over with me every question I had about Shostakovich’s 8th Quartet. This lesson set the bar for me as to what an elder musician ought to do for a younger musician. Each member of Kronos has received this kind of generous guidance from many people over the years. We have been given a wealth of spirit and knowledge that we hope to share.”
In this spirit, the Kronos Quartet regularly takes part in educational activities in its hometown of San Francisco and throughout the world.
Kronos Music: The Future is Now
Since the 2017/18 Season, the Kronos Performing Arts Association has produced a community concert at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) as part of its KRONOS PRESENTS program. The Kronos Quartet and student ensembles from SFCM and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), and, beginning in 2020, the Oakland School for the Arts, have performed works from 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire. Before the concerts, members of Kronos and students from SFCM coach the middle and high school–aged musicians.
Kronos Quartet rehearsing with San Francisco Unified School District students / credit Heidi Alletzhauser
Kronos Music: Remix
The Kronos Performing Arts Association is collaborating with Sunset Youth Services (SYS) on Kronos Music: Remix. The project supports young music producers, engineers, and hip hop artists as they deconstruct and sample Kronos’ 50 for the Future recordings to create their own music. The remixes will be released by SYS’s Upstar Records. The mission of SYS is to foster long-term stability and growth for in-risk youth and families through caring relationships and supportive services. Among their many programs are a number of innovative digital arts and technology projects, where young people learn through songwriting, digital recording and engineering, beat sequencing, DJ instruction, instrumentation, podcasting, and other forms of creative expression. Kronos Music: Remix is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Additional support is provided by the Sam Mazza Foundation.
SYS program director Joel Tarman and Kronos’ David Harrington watch while Remix participants work in SYS’s Upstar Records studio.
KRONOS MUSIC: DO IT YOURSELF!
The Kronos Performing Arts Association has developed a free, in-school music education program for third grade students that, beginning in January 2020, will be piloted in the San Francisco Unified School District at the Monroe and Francis Scott Key Elementary Schools. Third grade is a formative year in music education for elementary school students, who have the option to choose an instrument and begin in-school music lessons the following year when they enter the fourth grade. Kronos Music: DIY! aims to encourage students to experiment in their own music making and to inspire them to take up an instrument.
Led by teaching artist Danny Clay, Kronos Music: DIY! will utilize musical works from 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire in hands-on activities to explore how music can embody communication, collaboration, the expression of different cultures and underrepresented voices, and issues of social justice. The program will also include two in-school concerts by the Kronos Quartet and the student ensemble Dragon String Quartet from Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and culminate in a field trip to the Exploratorium, which will include a final concert by Kronos in the science museum’s Kanbar Forum.
Kronos Music: Do It Yourself! is supported in part by Ann Hatch – Tin Man Fund and by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at arts.ca.gov
Kronos Quartet performs for San Francisco Unified School District third grade students at Francis Scott Key Elementary Schools (Paul Wiancko performs as Kronos Quartet’s guest cellist during Sunny Yang’s maternity leave).
Kronos Quartet regularly takes part in educational residencies while on tour. Activities may include master classes, coaching sessions or panel discussions with elementary, middle and high school, college, and conservatory students, as well as pre-professional musicians and composers. Recent residencies have included master classes and performances with young professional string quartets at the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall, student ensembles from Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya during Grec 2019 Festival de Barcelona, and young professional quartets at the Haydnsaal in Schloss Esterházy. Of special note, a recent residency at the Holland Festival culminated in “Kronos Sessions,” a day-long mini-festival that included public master classes, performances of 50 for the Future works by student string quartets from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and a concert of “Kronos classics” by the Ragazze Quartet, whom Kronos mentored earlier in their career.
John Sherba coaching San Francisco Unified School District students / credit Heidi Alletzhauser
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