Kronos Festival


Kronos Festival


Now streaming on YouTube and Facebook
available through August 31.


KRONOS FESTIVAL opens with the first episode of Nicole Lizée’s ZonelyHearts, a look into a Kronos rehearsal gone mysteriously awry. Several other world premieres follow, including Soo Yeon Lyuh’s Tattoo, a family story of survival; Malian handclapping song Wawani by Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté; Vaya, Vaya, Mahsa Vahdat’s ode to her homeland of Iran; and a celebration of Mahalia Jackson featuring dancer Tadi Todi.
View program notes here.

In an echo of our pandemic existence, Program #2 is both far-reaching and close to home. Rooted in such Kronos classics as Black Angels, the George Crumb threnody that inspired Kronos’ founding in 1973, the program then winds its way to Iran for the world premiere of Kavuki with Shahram Nazeri; to Mali for more new handclapping songs with Hawa Diabaté; to Vietnam with Vân-Ánh Võ for lessons of resilience from the Mekong; to San Francisco for a new poetry film by Kayla Pellom with ​Sunset Youth Services; and several places in between.
View program notes here.

The closing program of KRONOS FESTIVAL is both a celebration of Black American artistry and a tribute to their centuries-long fight for civil rights in our country. New works by dancer Tadi Todi and San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin rest alongside Kronos performances of Abel Meeropol’s Strange Fruit and Zachary James Watkins’ Peace Be Till, featuring the recorded voice of Dr. Clarence B. Jones. “One Earth, One People, One Love” from Terry Riley’s Sun Rings closes out the evening in a meditation on humanity.
View program notes here.

In a sparkling collection of short films, KRONOS FESTIVAL Kids! invites our younger viewers to make sounds with Danny Clay; 
explore the Great Barrier Reef through Julia Sumerling’s stunning underwater cinematography; tune in to bird calls with Sahba Aminikia; clap their hands with Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté and her daughter Rokia Kouyaté, and more. 
View program notes here.

In this charming mini-documentary, composer and author Michael Hearst investigates the mysteries of the invertebrate sea pig, an unusual creature that lives at the bottom of the ocean floor. Kronos lends a hand by playing musical toys and their instruments to create “sea pig sounds.”

With music by Susie Ibarra, Director Valerie Soe celebrates the Auntie Sewing Squad collective of volunteer mask-makers, who have cut, sewn, and distributed hundreds of thousands of homemade face masks to marginalized and at-risk communities during the pandemic.

Sam Green’s short film essay explores John Cage and the 1983 piece he wrote for Kronos entitled Thirty Pieces for String Quartet.

Frequent Kronos collaborator Bill Morrison uses rare, early–20th century news footage to uncover ways that narratives about race have been used in the U.S. to divide people and maintain power.


After a year’s hiatus, Kronos Performing Arts Association’s KRONOS FESTIVAL returns on June 11 – 18, expanding the annual San Francisco-based event into the virtual sphere with eight exciting online presentations, including fourteen world premieres. All streams will be available free of charge—here on this space, on Facebook, and on YouTube—and will remain online through August 31.

KRONOS FESTIVAL features works by more than 20 guest performers, and highlights the work of Kronos’ artistic collaborators and community partners. Art, activism, and the fight for civil rights are key themes in Kronos’ works, represented at the festival in pieces by Sahba Aminikia, Nicole Lizée, Bill Morrison, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Eiko Otake, Pete Seeger, Valerie Soe, Vân-Ánh Võ, and Zachary James Watkins. Many of Kronos’ signature works are featured, including Clint Mansell’s ‘Lux Aeterna’ from Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, ‘God-music’ from George Crumb’s Black Angels, Frank Zappa’s None of the Above, Terry Riley’s ‘One Earth, One People, One Love’ and Vladimir Martynov’s The Beatitudes. Also featured are eight pieces that were commissioned as part of Kronos’ groundbreaking Fifty for the Future project. And in a beautiful tribute to its hometown of San Francisco, Kronos will headline composer Ellen Reid’s acclaimed SOUNDWALK, a self-guided, GPS-enabled public art work, which will make its Bay Area debut in Golden Gate Park (June 12).

The world premieres include compositions by Sahba Aminikia, Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, Nicole Lizée, Soo Yeon Lyuh, Mahsa Vahdat, and Vân-Ánh Võ, among others. Along with three 45-minute concerts (June 11, 16, and 18), this year’s festival features KRONOS FESTIVAL Kids!, a lively and engaging 30-minute presentation for audiences of all ages (June 13).

Kronos has achieved lasting renown for transforming the string quartet concert into an immersive experience with lighting, video, audience participation, and more. In similar fashion, KRONOS FESTIVAL’s programs stand apart from the usual music streams. Rather than capturing a continuous concert, each program is a mosaic of original films and performances. Kronos will present short films between June 13 – 17, with contributions from such noted filmmakers as Sam Green (world premiere), Bill Morrison (world premiere), and Valerie Soe, constituting a mini-festival within the festival. The programs will also feature new short films from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, created to illuminate and contextualize specific musical works.


KRONOS FESTIVAL is produced by the Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) and is part of the San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit’s KRONOS PRESENTS program. KRONOS FESTIVAL is made possible by generous support from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and San Francisco Grants for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK in Golden Gate Park is presented by KRONOS FESTIVAL in association with McEvoy Foundation for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Ann Hatch, Andrea Lunsford, Sumiko Ito & Don Allison, and Curtis Smith & Sue Threlkeld.



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