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Nonesuch Releases Kronos Quartet ‘Explorer Series’ Box Set and ‘A Thousand Thoughts’ on April 21‏

March 14, 2014

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Nonesuch Releases Kronos Explorer Series Box Set and A Thousand Thoughts

on April 21 as Ensemble Marks 40th Anniversary
Kronos Explorer Series comprises five albums each dedicated to music from a different geographic region:

Pieces of Africa, Night Prayers, Caravan, Nuevo and Floodplain
A Thousand Thoughts features 15 recordings with music and performers
from 14 countries across five continents

‘Kronos are not a classical string quartet, they are not a World Music group, they are simply Kronos.’ Independent

‘Like good cultural anthropologists, the Kronos musicians (create) enlightening musical document(s) by keeping their ears close to the ground.’ Los Angeles Times

Kronos Quartet and its artistic director/founding violinist David Harrington have long been known as interpreters of music from around the world, expanding the string quartet repertoire with works from across genres. Nonesuch, the Quartet’s longtime label, celebrates this remarkable curiosity in the group’s 40th anniversary year with two releases: the Kronos Explorer Series five-CD box set and a new album, A Thousand Thoughts, both of which will be available on April 21, 2014. Kronos continues its anniversary celebrations with a ‘Kronos at 40’ concert at the Barbican, London on May 13. The group will also perform during the Barbican’s Explorations: The Sound of Nonesuch Records marathon weekend (May 17 and 18), which celebrates the label in its 50th anniversary year. Visit www.barbican.org.uk for more information.

Kronos Explorer Series comprises five classic albums from five different parts of the world—Pieces of Africa, Night Prayers, Caravan, Nuevo, and Floodplain—with new liner notes that include an in-depth interview of Harrington by renowned author Jonathan Cott. Pieces of Africa (1992), Kronos’ first record of African music, developed over eight years, during which Kronos commissioned/performed with some of the continent’s greatest musicians, including Zimbabwe’s Dumisani Maraire, Nubian Hamza el Din, and Gambia’s Foday Musa Suso. Works with roots in Ghana, Morocco, South Africa, and Uganda also are included. Night Prayers (1994) contains seven works by vastly different artists, geographically all from within the former Soviet Union, including Huun-Huur-Tu from Tuva, Azerbaijani duduk master Djivan Gasparian, and Sofia Gubaidulina from the former Tatar. The compositions on Caravan (2000) come from many compass points—Iraq, California, South America—but all have roots in other places, starting with the territory that links northeastern Europe with the Mediterranean and the Orient; composer Osvaldo Golijov arranged the pieces. For Nuevo (2002), the Quartet embraced Mexican genres from rock to mariachi, with music from the heart of regional Mexico, including street performers, religious festival celebrants, and a duet with a leaf player. And on Floodplain (2009), ancient songs from the wellspring of the Fertile Crescent mingle with new music from low-lying areas in Central Asia, North Africa, and Eastern Europe, performed on centuries-old harps, electric sitar, and instruments built for Kronos.

A Thousand Thoughts is a look at Kronos’ geographically wide-ranging sources. It features music from 14 different countries, including China, India, Sweden, and Vietnam. The album includes the four cellists who have been in Kronos Quartet over the last 36 years: Joan Jeanrenaud (1978–1999), Jennifer Culp (1999–2005), Jeffrey Zeigler (2005–2013), and Sunny Yang (2013–present). Ten of the album’s 15 pieces are previously unreleased.

For 40 years, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings, collaborating with many of the world’s most accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians. The group’s numerous awards also include a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and Musicians of the Year (2003) from Musical America.

Visit the official Kronos Quartet website: www.kronosquartet.org

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