CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 8, 2002
Kronos Quartet presents world premiere of 'Nuevo' concert March 2 in Hancher
The 14-year collaboration between the Kronos Quartet and the University of
Iowa Hancher Auditorium will continue with the world premiere of the Kronos
"Nuevo" concert, featuring the "space-age bachelor-pad"
music of Esquivel and other popular and folk musical styles of Mexico, at
8 p.m. Saturday, March 2.
The second half of the concert will feature the Quartet No. 4 by Latvian
composer Peteris Vasks, whose music combines both traditional styles and recent
musical thoughts, often using motifs from Latvian folk music. Vasks wrote
of his fourth quartet, "While working on the score, I often reflected
upon the passing century. My reflections were somber ones. There has been
so much bloodshed and destruction, and yet love's power and idealism have
helped to keep the world in balance."
The "Nuevo" half of the program features both new compositions
and arrangements by Osvaldo Golijov, Ricardo Gallardo and Steven Prutsman
of songs by composers well known in Mexico, and in some cases throughout the
world. The concert will present most of the works that have been recorded
for the upcoming Kronos "Nuevo" CD.
Severiano Briseno's "The Man from Sinaloa," is a bawdy song about
a drunken character from the western coastal state of Sinaloa. Briseno performed
with a popular trio in the 1950s called the Trio Tamaulipeco, and this song
was later made famous by Banda El Recodo de Don Cruz Lizarraga, a mostly-brass
band that continues to perform.
Agustin Lara became famous in the 1930s, with the installation of a new transmitter
in Mexico that allowed his songs to be broadcast throughout Mexico. "Se
Me Hizo Fácil" (It Was Easy for Me) is one of his hundreds of
songs that became standards for Spanish-language performers.
Juan Garcia Esquivel, whose "Mini Skirt" is featured in "Nuevo,"
was signed by RCA Victor in 1958, just as two-channel Hi-Fi stereo systems
were being introduced into American households. Audiences were eager to acquire
recordings to try out their new sound equipment, and Esquivel's "space-age
bachelor-pad" compositions and arrangements pushed stereos to their limits.
He constantly experimented with new instruments, and his recordings for RCA
Victor took full advantage of the stereo phenomenon, creating a staggering
array of effects with reverb and the new ability to pan sound from channel
Alberto Dominguez' "Perfidia" (Perfidy, 1939) is a standard that
has been recorded by Nat King Cole, Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey. Multiple
overdubbed Kronoses evoke the 101 Strings orchestras of the 1950s and '60s.
The original lyrics are the words of a man whose love has betrayed him; the
chorus laments, "Woman, if you can speak to God, ask him if I ever stopped
A committed anti-fascist and socialist, Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas
considered himself something of a barbarian in the world of upper-class music,
often challenging distinctions between "serious" and "popular"
music by abandoning traditional European models and weaving into his works
traditional and commercial Mexican music. His "Sensemaya" (1937)
describes an Afro-Cuban ritual called "Matar la culebra" (Killing
the Snake), dance performed every Epiphany to exorcise evil.
Golijov composed "K'in Sventa Ch'ul Me'tik Kwadulupe" (Festival
for the Holy Mother Guadalupe) to accompany an historic recording made by
David Lewiston in the 1970s for the influential Nonesuch Explorer series.
In the town of Chamula in the state of Chiapas, Lewiston captured on tape
a ritual performed during the Festival for the Holy Mother Guadalupe, in which
the responsibility of taking care of the saint moves from the religious leader
of the past year to the new leader.
"Cuatro Milpas" (Four Cornfields, c. 1926) was a popular tune by
composer, soldier and inspector of bands Colonel Belisario Jesus de Garcia,
and it is still played by current mariachi groups. The Kronos version features
the recorded performance of a Mexican street musician playing an organillo,
or barrel organ, a common source of dance music in the 19th and early 20th
Every Monday night between 1970 and 1995, Mexican television audiences sat
down to watch the comedy show "Chespirito." Within the first five
years of its uninterrupted broadcast history, it spawned two spinoffs -- "El
Chapulin Colorado" and "El Chavo del Ocho" -- and all three
programs were aired throughout Latin America. The programs were based on quirky
characters created by famed comedian, writer, composer, actor, director and
producer Roberto Gomez Bolanos, a.k.a. "Chespirito" (or, "little
Shakespeare," as Mexican film director Agustin P. Delgado dubbed him).
The "Chavo Suite" in "Nuevo" features music from these
three programs, including the theme songs to "El Chavo del Ocho"
and "El Chapulin Colorado," in which the 5'3" Chespirito played
an inept superhero dressed as a red grasshopper with antennae and a big yellow
heart on his chest.
In the early part of the 20th century, legendary events and famous revolutionaries
like Pancho Villa were chronicled in corridos, narrative ballads that had
their roots in Spanish romances. The corrido has experienced a rebirth in
recent years as the narco-corrido, now featuring heroes from the drug-smuggling
trade in Sinaloa, the heart of Mexico's drug industry. Despite being banned
from the radio, these songs have exploded in popularity in northwest Mexico
and southern California. Chalino Sanchez, who was murdered at the age of 31,
has become one of the most influential
narco-corrido singers, and he has been mythologized as the paradigm of a valiente,
a tough, independent man who lived under his own rules. Kronos will play an
arrangement of his "Nacho Verduzco."
December 12, celebrated throughout Mexico as the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe,
was the inspiration for "12/12," by the Mexican band Cafe Tacuba
to evoke different moments and environments experienced during the course
of the celebration.
Billboard magazine called the Kronos Quartet "the most important chamber
group of the 20th century," who not only "revolutionized chamber
performance, but helped to change the face of contemporary music."
The Kronos "Traveling Music," concert during Hancher's 1999-2000
Millennium Festival led to the "Kronos Caravan" CD, featuring three
Hancher commissions. A Billboard magazine review commented, "After a
quarter of a century, the Kronos Quartet continues to amaze with its conceptual
acuity and cultural breadth. . . 'Caravan' could prove to be not only one
of the most popular Kronos albums but also one of the quartet's best."
A few years earlier, Hancher enabled Kronos to try out the concept of an
African-theme concert. The success of that concert led to the "Pieces
of Africa" CD, which became the top-selling string quartet recording
of all time, and the first recording ever to simultaneously top the classical
and world music charts.
Those concerts featured just a few of the many commissions and premieres
that have made Hancher and Iowa major contributors to the world-wide musical
phenomenon that is the Kronos Quartet.
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 chamber-music
William Rubright and the late Emilie Rubright were the supporters of the
Kronos commissions and premiere, through the University of Iowa Foundation.
Hancher's "Nuevo" co-commissioners and co-supporters are Performing
Arts Center/University of Texas, Austin; Washington Performing Arts Society;
Cal Performances/University of California, Berkeley; Montalvo Center for the
Arts; UA Presents/University of Arizona, Tucson; National Endowment for the
Arts; the California Challenge Program of the California Arts Council; the
US-Mexico Fund for Culture; the James Irvine Foundation; the William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation; the San Francisco Foundation, Judithe Bizot; and Simon
Tickets to "Nuevo" are $30, $27 and $25. UI students and senior
citizens qualify for a 20 percent discount, and Zone 2 and 3 tickets are available
to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half
Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays
and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160.
Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. People with
special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319)
335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who
use that technology.
Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through
Hancher's website:< http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher
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. Information and brochures may
be requested by e-mail: <email@example.com>.
For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit <www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa>.
To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Visit the Kronos website at < http://www.kronosquartet.org
>for additional information.
* * *
KRONOS QUARTET/HANCHER -- commissions and premieres
1989 -- Assembly Required visual design, commission
Kevin Volans, "The Songlines," commission
1990 -- world premieres of commissioned visual designs for Terry Riley's
for Peace" and George Crumb's "Black Angels"
1991 -- commission of "Mai Nozipo" by Dumiane Maraire (world
Christian Marclay and Jay Cloidt commission (world premiere)
1992 -- Scott Johnson "How it Happens (Words of I.F. Stone),"
commission (world premiere)
1994 -- Michelle DiBucci and Randall Wolf arrangements of music by Raymond
John Oswald, "Mach," commission
1995 -- Brent Michael Davids, "Tunpao Nenangpe" commission
Ben Johnston arrangements of music by Harry Partch, commission
1996 -- Tan Dun, "Ghost Opera," commission
PQ Phan, "Memoirs of a Lost Soul," commission (world premiere)
1998 -- Ben Johnston, arrangement of music by Harry Partch, commission
1999 -- "Traveling Music" (concert world premiere), including
Rahul Dev Burman, arr. Osvaldo Golijov, "Tonight is the Night"
Kayhan Kalhor, "Gallop of a Thousand Horses," commission
Hyo-Shin Na, "Song of the Beggars," commission
Alicia Svingals, "Kale Baveynen II, commission (world premiere)
Aleksandra Vrebalov, "Panonia Boundless," commission
2000 -- Gabriela Ortiz, "Baalkah," commission,
"Tonight is the Night" concert world premiere with Dawn Upshaw
2002 -- "Nuevo" (concert world premiere)
Terry Riley/Donald Gurnett "Sun Rings" (world premiere next