Kronos Quartet at 50: Hunger for the new

1979_Mills College

Kronos Quartet has been at the vanguard of contemporary string quartet performance for 50 years. Founder David Harrington and former cellist Joan Jeanrenaud speak with Thomas May about the legacy of innovation that the ensemble is celebrating with an ambitious series of projects this season

Ask violinist David Harrington what he’s listening to these days, and you’ll get an instant glimpse into the insatiable hunger for discovery that defines and fuels Kronos Quartet, the trailblazing ensemble he founded in 1973. With Kronos Quartet, it’s the ears that are the window to the soul.

‘I just heard an absolutely amazing radio programme from 1953. It was Studs Terkel interviewing Lorenzo Dow Turner, the first great African American linguist,’ Harrington says during a Zoom conversation from his home in San Francisco. ‘It was incredibly beautiful. This is leading me into an entirely new, major work as soon as I can do it. I’m as on fire as I can be right now.’…

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