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Kronos Quartet is a string quartet founded by violinist David Harrington in 1973. Since 1978, the quartet has been based in San Francisco, California. The longest-running combination of performers (from 1978 to 1999) had Harrington and John Sherba on violin, Hank Dutt on viola and Joan Jeanrenaud on cello. Jennifer Culp replaced Jeanrenaud in 1999, and Jeffrey Zeigler in turn replaced Culp in 2005.
Kronos specializes in new music and has a long history of commissioning new works. In fact, over 600 works have been created for the Kronos Quartet. They have worked with many minimalist composers including Arvo Pärt, Henryk Górecki, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Roberto Carnevale, Terry Riley and Kevin Volans. Kronos has collaborated with composers from a diversity of countries such as Franghiz Ali-Zadeh from Azerbaijan and Osvaldo Golijov from Argentina. Golijov is a MacArthur Fellow who has done compositions and arrangements for Kronos CDs such as Caravan and Nuevo. Recently, the Kronos Quartet began a commission process for composers under the age of 30, in the hope of bringing some of the talented young composers of our day to light.
Kronos covers a very broad range of musical genres: Mexican folk, experimental, pre-classical early music, movie soundtracks (Requiem for a Dream, Heat, The Fountain), jazz and tango. Kronos has even recorded adaptations of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze", Sigur Rós's "Flugufrelsarinn," Television's "Marquee Moon", and Raymond Scott's "Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals". Composers aside, Kronos has teamed up with artists from around the world, including Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle; Mexican-American painter Gronk; the American soprano Dawn Upshaw; jazz composer/performer Pat Metheny; Mexican rockers Café Tacuba; and the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks.
Kronos has performed live with the likes of the late poet Allen Ginsberg, Astor Piazzolla, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Tom Waits, David Bowie, and Björk, and has appeared on recordings with such diverse talents as singer-songwriters Dave Matthews, Nelly Furtado, Rokia Traore, Joan Armatrading, Brazilian electronica artist Amon Tobin, Texas yodeler Don Walser and David Grisman.
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