Violinist John Sherba & violist Hank Dutt to retire from group after 45+ years

Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) announced today that at the end of June, following Kronos Quartet’s historic 50th-anniversary season, longtime members John Sherba (violin) and Hank Dutt (viola) will retire from the ensemble. Dutt joined Kronos in 1977; he and founder David Harrington (violin) recruited Sherba to join the group in 1978. In the ensuing 46 years, Dutt and Sherba have each left an unmistakable imprint on Kronos’ distinctive sound.

During that time, Kronos Quartet has grown from an upstart ensemble to a global cultural force, performing thousands of concerts around the world and selling more than 4 million recordings on Nonesuch and other labels – more than any other string quartet in history. The group has commissioned 1100+ new works and arrangements to date, and has won three Grammy awards (and twelve nominations) and numerous other prizes. In the past decade, KPAA inaugurated the visionary Kronos Fifty for the Future project, commissioning 50 works designed expressly for learning and distributing them for free. More fundamentally, Kronos has transformed the string quartet medium itself, bursting through stylistic and geographical boundaries, and incorporating sound design, lighting, and theatrical elements into its presentations.

Said John Sherba, “It is a dream come true to have been involved in the birth of so many important compositions, to have experienced all the major halls and their audiences, to have performed with an astonishing array of guest artists, to have worked with our amazing manager, Janet Cowperthwaite, our staff, and our KPAA board, to have made many recordings, and most importantly, to have been surrounded by the incredible Kronos players, past and present. I can’t believe I am approaching 70! I have decided, with a lot of contemplation, to free up my calendar, retire from Kronos, spend more time with my family, and spontaneously pursue my many other passions.

New lands call, heart sings
Swinging fences, sunlit walks
Silence hums, ‘well done’”
– John Sherba

“I cannot imagine a career more artistically rewarding than the past 47 years I have spent with the Kronos Quartet,” said Hank Dutt. “Every day has been an adventure with a steady stream of collaborations with new composers, new musicians, and old friends. But for every thing there is a season. Having celebrated Kronos’ 50th anniversary, I feel now is the moment for me to step back and let a violist from the next generation further the Kronos tradition. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life in music.”

Between now and the end of June, Sherba and Dutt will perform more than 20 shows with Harrington and cellist Paul Wiancko, who joined the quartet in 2023. The itinerary will include the Big Ears Festival, The Town Hall in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, and appearances in Toronto, Dublin, Hamburg, Vienna, Zürich, Luxembourg City, Hanover, and Amsterdam, among other cities. They will give their final performances with the group at the ninth annual Kronos Festival, June 20 – 23, 2024 at the SFJAZZ Center in the group’s hometown, San Francisco. 

Said David Harrington, Kronos Quartet’s founder and Artistic Director, “Words can hardly express the depth of gratitude and appreciation I feel for the immense energy, dedication, and single-minded devotion Hank and John have given Kronos every day during all of these years. Their expertise, good cheer and friendship have been at the heart of all of our work. I wish them everything good in their onward journeys.”

Kronos will enter its sixth decade with two new members: violinist Gabriela Díaz and violist Ayane Kozasa will join Harrington and Wiancko. 

A fierce champion of contemporary music, Gabriela Díaz has worked closely with many significant composers on their own compositions, including Pierre Boulez, Jessie Montgomery, Alvin Lucier, Unsuk Chin, John Zorn, Joan Tower, Roger Reynolds, Chaya Czernowin, Steve Reich, Tania León, Brian Ferneyhough, and Helmut Lachenmann. A native of Georgia, she is the concertmaster of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), and a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble and A Far Cry. Critics have acclaimed her as “a young violin master,” and “one of Boston’s most valuable players.” She teaches at Wellesley College and the Longy School of Music at Bard College, and is the co-artistic director of the chamber music and outreach organization Winsor Music.

Hailed for her “magnetic, wide-ranging tone” and her “rock solid technique” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Ayane Kozasa is a sought-after chamber musician, collaborator, and educator. She is a founding member of the award-winning Aizuri Quartet, which she belonged to for eleven years. A winner of the Primrose International Viola Competition, she has commissioned multiple new works featuring the viola. Currently, she is a member of the duo Ayane & Paul with Paul Wiancko. Together, the two collaborated on Norah Jones’ album Pick Me Up Off the Floor, and are also part of Owls, a quartet collective with violinist Alexi Kenney and cellist Gabriel Cabezas. Active in mentoring young musicians, she is on the viola faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and has been guest faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Northwestern University.

Said David Harrington, “And now Paul and I happily welcome Gabriela and Ayane to the Kronos family! We are inspired and thrilled by the imagination, skill, and bold ideas that they will bring to the future work of Kronos. This next chapter will be full of big adventures–stay tuned!”




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