CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 14, 2000
(EDITORS NOTE: Direct interview requests to Kronos, 415-731-3533, <email@example.com>
Kronos Quartet and Dawn Upshaw premiere 'Tonight is the Night' May 3 in
Hancher at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Kronos Quartet and opera/art song diva Dawn Upshaw
will premiere their new world folk-music collaboration, "Tonight is the
Night," at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 in Hancher Auditorium on the University
of Iowa campus. The concert is the final event in Hancher's Millennium Festival,
the nation's most ambitious and extensive performing-arts millennium celebration,
which has featured more than 20 commissions in music, theater and dance --
most of which have been given their world or American premieres in Hancher
A concert featuring eight world premieres, "Tonight is the Night,"
is titled after the Indian song that opens the program, and features original
compositions based on folk sources by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov and
Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz. Hancher commissioned the Ortiz composition,
"Baalkah" (World), for the Millennium Festival.
The concert also includes a globe-spanning series of traditional songs arranged
especially for Kronos and Upshaw. The songs originated in Portugal, Spain,
Egypt, India and even the Stephen Foster song "Ah, May the Red Rose Live
The concert production -- which travels from Iowa City to Berkeley and Irvine,
Calif.; New York City; London, England; and Prague in the Czech Republic --
coincides with the release of the Kronos "Caravan" CD, which features
several of the compositions Kronos performed in Hancher last fall, including
"Tonight is the Night" by Rahul Dev Burman.
Kronos founder and first violinist David Harrington says of the collaboration,
"Dawn Upshaw can contribute so much to what Kronos does because she's
stretching her own boundaries all the time. As a performer and as someone
to prepare music with, she's an ideal collaborator because she's great to
work with, she puts all of herself into what she does, and she's one of the
best singers I've ever heard.
"One of the things I'm looking forward to in this collaboration is to
explore different musical styles and to hear many different languages. It's
amazing how a language that you don't understand can become almost like a
musical melody. Dawn will sing in several languages, including Spanish, Portuguese,
Arabic and Hindi, and in the case of the piece that Gabriela Ortiz is writing
-- in Mayan. I'm hoping that our concert is going to end up being a celebration
Upshaw says, "For me, singing is foremost about words. I trace this
back to my experience with the American folk songs that I sang and listened
to as a child -- songs whose entire premise rests on immediate and forthright
expression. In this respect, these songs from distant lands remain, in aesthetic
terms, quite close to home."
Since its inception in 1973, Kronos has emerged as a leading voice for new
work, without boundaries. More than 400 works have been written or arranged
for Kronos, including numerous works commissioned by Hancher Auditorium for
Iowa premieres. The quartet's "Pieces of Africa" CD, which became
the largest selling string quartet recording in history, originated in an
African-theme concert in Hancher.
Upshaw has become one of the world's most celebrated singers -- spanning
opera, art-song recitals, popular songs, musical theater, recordings and television
broadcasts -- noted for her commitment to performances of new music. She starred
on the recording of the Gorecki Symphony No. 3, which became the largest-selling
recording of contemporary classical music ever, with sales of more than a
The recipient of Hancher's commission, Gabriela Ortiz, was born in Mexico
City and studied in Mexico, the United States and England. Her work combines
the European art-music tradition with Mexican folk music and jazz, spiced
with an interest in pre-Colombian culture. The Hancher commission was supported
by Procter & Gamble and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Golijov was born in Argentina, and also lived in Jerusalem before moving
to the United States in the mid-1980s. A New York Times review described the
two-time Friedheim Award winner as "a musical alchemist who conjures
up new worlds." He visited the UI last fall for the Kronos performance,
with Klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer, of his award-winning "Dreams
and Prayers of Isaac the Blind."
Hancher's season-spanning Millennium Festival has featured more than 20 major
commissions in music, theater and dance. In addition to the "Baalkah"
new works have been created by artists including theater visionary Robert
Lepage; choreographers Twyla Tharp, Ushio Amagatsu, Bill T. Jones, UI alumnus
Lar Lubovitch, Susan Marshall, Paul Taylor, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; and
composers Richard Danielpour, Paul Schoenfield, Cedar Rapids native Michael
Daugherty and UI alumnus David Lang with his Bang on a Can associates. Performances
have involved American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance, the Australian Chamber
Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the Ethos Percussion Group, the Alvin Ailey American
Dance Theatre, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Sankai Juku, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie
Zane Dance Company, the Ahn Trio and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.
Tickets to the May 3 concert are $35, $32 and $30. 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
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance
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 technology.
For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit <www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr>.