Sun RIngs

Sun Rings

Terry Riley


“The Kronos Quartet’s new recording employs ‘space sounds’ recorded by NASA over the years, and these percussive clicks, drones and ghostly screeches are artfully integrated into the string arrangements. Where some composers tend to get doomy and dystopian when faced with such subject matter, Riley is appealingly childlike and positive, and his strident minimalism is complemented by the utopian harmonies of the Volti choir.”

John Lewis, The Guardian

About the album

2020 Grammy Award –  Best Engineered Album, Classical

Composed by Terry Riley for string quartet, chorus, and pre-recorded space sounds, Sun Rings is the first complete recording of Kronos Quartet’s landmark multimedia production of the same name. Commissioned in part by the NASA Art Program, the fully staged show, featuring visual design by Willie Williams, premiered at University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium in October 2002. Kronos has since performed the 10-movement work in full nearly 50 times in 11 countries and 18 states. “Art and science have enjoyed a triumphant meeting,” wrote Mark Swed for the Los Angeles Times after the Southern California premiere. “Terry Riley’s empyrean masterpiece for the Kronos Quartet, chorus, electronic sounds from outer space, and lavish visual projections provides music of supreme beauty and spiritual impact.”

Kronos Quartet
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Sunny Yang, cello

with Volti, Robert Geary, Artistic Director

Sounds of space courtesy of Dr. Donald A. Gurnett, Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Iowa

Recorded sound transformation by David Dvorin

Produced by Judith Sherman

Engineered by Leslie Ann Jones
Mixed by John Kilgore, Judith Sherman, and David Harrington
Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig

Sun Rings was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by the NASA Art Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation’s Multi-Arts Production Fund, Hancher Auditorium/University of Iowa, Society for the Performing Arts, Eclectic Orange Festival/Philharmonic Society of Orange County, SFJAZZ, Barbican Centre, London, U.K., Texas Performing Arts at The University of Texas at Austin (with the support of the Topfer Endowment for Performing Arts), and BAM.

Sun Rings
for string quartet, chorus, and pre-recorded spacescapes

  1. Overture
  2. Hero Danger
  3. Beebopterismo
  4. Planet Elf Sindoori
  5. Earth Whistlers (feat. Volti)
  6. Earth/Jupiter Kiss
  7. The Electron Cyclotron Frequency Parlour
  8. Prayer Central (feat. Volti)
  9. Venus Upstream
  10. One Earth, One People, One Love

Released by Nonesuch Records



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