CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Aug. 27, 1999
Kronos Quartet premieres Hancher commissions in Sept.
15 Millennium Festival concert
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As part of the Millennium Festival
at the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium, the Kronos Quartet -- the ensemble
that has revolutionized chamber music during the last quarter of the 20th
century -- will present three world premieres and five Hancher-commissioned
compositions in "Traveling Music," a concert of diverse string quartet music
from around the globe, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Kronos will joined in Iowa City by Argentine composer
Osvaldo Golijov, who composed the music for the recent Kronos CD "Dreams and
Prayers of Isaac the Blind" and also arranged three other works for the "Traveling
Golijov will offer a free event, "Who Was Isaac the
Blind: An Evening of Jewish Mysticism and Klezmer Music," at 7 p.m. Tuesday,
Sept. 14 in Old Brick, 26 E. Market St. in Iowa City, co-sponsored by Agudas
Achim Synagogue, the Hillel Foundation and the UI School of Religion. Participants
in this informal community event will include guest clarinetist David Krakauer,
School of Religion faculty member Ralph Keen and a klezmer band led by Robert
The Sept. 15 concert will reflect the ever-shrinking
world of the new millennium, including music from India, Argentina, Yugoslavia,
the United States, Korea, Iran, Azerbaijan and Mexico, featuring guest performances
by clarinetist Krakauer and Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain.
The Hancher commissions on the concert program are
"Responso" by Argentine composer Anibal Troilo, arranged by Golijov; "Panonia
Boundless" by Yugoslavian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov; American composer
Alicia Svigals' "Kale Baveynen II"; "Song of the Beggars" by Korean composer
Hyo-shin Na; and "Gallop of a Thousand Horses" by Iranian composer Kayhan
Kalhor. Svigals' composition will be given its world premiere.
The commissions of "Traveling Music" are supported
by Procter & Gamble and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Other works on the program are the world premiere
of "Tonight is the Night" by Indian composer Rahul Dev Berman, "Oasis" by
Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, the world premiere of "La Muerte
Chiquita" by Mexican composer Enrique Rangel, and Golijov's "Dreams and Prayers
of Isaac the Blind."
Since its founding in 1973, Kronos has relentlessly
redefined the contemporary string quartet, adding more than 400 works to the
string-quartet repertoire, and inspiring new generations of composers around
the world -- many of them outsiders to the classical music tradition -- to
write for chamber music's most venerable combination of instruments. They
have also infused chamber music merely crossing musical and aesthetic boundaries,
but refusing to acknowledge that boundaries exist. Along the way they have
recorded the largest-selling string-quartet discography in history.
Critic Alan Rich summarized, "Kronos simply has not,
in its glorious quarter-century of exploration, invention and innovation,
found the time to be bored. Nor has it left that kind of time for us happy
listeners out front. As its members have redefined the substance of the string-quartet
repertoire, it has also led its cheering throngs, we of the turn-away crowds
and we among the ecstatic discophiles, to redefine the very nature of the
Hancher Auditorium has played a significant role in
the career of the iconoclastic Kronos Quartet, including numerous commissions
and premieres. Several seasons ago, for example, Hancher gave Kronos the opportunity
to try out a concert concept -- a program of music by composers from all parts
of Africa. The success of that concert -- which included what may have been
the first string-quartet sing-along ever recorded -- eventually led to the
CD "Pieces of Africa," which has become the largest-selling string-quartet
recording in history.
The turn of the millennium also finds Kronos at a
crossroads in its history as an ensemble. Cellist Joan Jeanreneau has just
announced her retirement, after 20 years with the quartet. She has been replaced
by Jennifer Culp, who joins founding first violinist David Harrington, second
violinist John Sherba and violist Hank Dutt.
The Hancher Millennium Festival has emerged as the
most extensive and ambitious performing-arts millennium celebration in the
United States. The season-spanning festival features 20 major commissions
in music, theater and dance, with 15 of the commissioned works and productions
receiving their world or American premieres in Hancher. (The number of commissions
just increased, with the finalizing of the Kronos Quartet programs.)
In addition to the "Traveling Music" compositions,
new works have been created -- or are being created -- by theater visionary
Robert Lepage; choreographers Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, UI alumnus Lar Lubovitch,
Susan Marshall, Bill T. Jones, Ushio Amagatsu and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar;
and composers Richard Danielpour, Michael Daugherty, Paul Schoenfield, and
UI alumnus David Lang.
Performances of the commissioned works will be presented
by prominent ensembles including American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance,
the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bang on a Can, Sankai Juku, the Alvin Ailey
American Dance Theatre, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Paul
Taylor Dance Company, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, the Ahn Trio and
the Ethos Percussion Group.
Several of the commissioned works will be presented
in the midst of residencies that will feature extensive arts education efforts,
including events cabled statewide on the Iowa Communication Network (ICN).
The ICN is a unique, state-owned fiber-optic network linking educational institutions,
libraries, community centers and government agencies for real-time audio-visual
Tickets for the Kronos Quartet's "Traveling Music"
are $28, $25 and $23. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent
discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for
audience members 17 and younger are half price.
Tickets may be purchased at a substantial discount
as part of Hancher's volume-purchase plan. A simultaneous purchase of three
to five events qualifies for a 15-percent discount, and a simultaneous purchase
of six or more events qualifies for a 20-percent discount.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays,
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or
outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois
is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged
to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases
to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and
auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered
by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking,
wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The
line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that
The entire 1999-2000 Hancher season -- including the
season-spanning Millennium Festival -- is detailed in a free brochure, "At
This Moment," which is available from the Hancher administrative offices (319-335-1130)
or the Hancher box office.
People who are interested in providing financial support
for the Millennium Festival should contact Victor Mashburn at the University
of Iowa Foundation, 319-335-3305.