Kronos’ Fifty for the Future Composers

Joan Jeanrenaud - USA

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Program Notes

About Knock, Jeanrenaud writes:

“In writing Knock for Kronos and specifically for their Fifty for the Future project, I reflected on my years playing in the group and all the string techniques I learned working with them.

“We were using our instruments in ways we weren't taught in music school. Yet we were always trying to embody the same basic principles of creating the best sound warranted and needed to express the composer's ideas. Whether it was a crunching sound produced by applying intense pressure on the string (that we had spent years trying to avoid!) or the most delicate of pizzicatos produced by caressing the string with the flesh of the thumb, we were always discovering the sounds our instruments could produce and the best way to do so. There was always a new piece with new ideas that we strived to execute and bring to life.  Each composer brought challenges to express their ideas in sound and music.

“Learning how to execute and express all these challenges opened an immense world of different approaches to the sound world of our instruments. It is impossible to encompass all these ideas in one piece, so instead I have picked moments that have influenced me and seamlessly entered into my work as composer.

“Also I was inspired thinking about all the ‘hard knocks’ we encountered together over the years, but how the music kept us going.”

Joan Jeanrenaud's Knock was commissioned as part of the Kronos Performing Arts Association’s Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, which is made possible by a group of adventurous partners, including Carnegie Hall and many others.

About Joan Jeanrenaud

Cellist and Composer Joan Jeanrenaud has been involved in music for over 40 years. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, she was exposed to the sounds of the blues, Elvis, soul, folk, and classical music. She learned to play her instrument from cellists Peter Spurbeck, Fritz Magg, and Pierre Fournier, studied jazz with David Baker and Joe Henderson, and worked with Kronos Quartet as cellist for 20 years. Now for the past 18 years she has been involved with projects in composition, improvisation, electronics, and multi-disciplinary performance. She has completed more than 70 compositions for cello and small ensembles, many of these multimedia works. Her compositions and recordings are featured in many films, most recently scoring the documentary Born This Way.

Other projects include her installation work ARIA with collaborator Alessandro Moruzzi, which premiered at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Second Time Around, the composition, collaboration, performances, and recording with storyteller Charlie Varon and dramaturge David Ford. Her CD, Strange Toys, released on the Talking House label in 2008, was nominated for a Grammy, and her most recent releases, Pop-Pop, Visual Music, and Second Time Around, appear on her own record label, Deconet Records.

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