Famous quartet playing a world premiere by Kyriakides

Fifty for the Future

Dutch premiere

Kronos Quartet

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The Kronos Quartet have been at very top for more than forty years. At the Holland Festival, they will be artists in residence for a week with their Fifty for the Future project. As part of their residency the quartet will give a concert at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, which will include works by Donnacha Dennehy and Laurie Anderson. At this concert, they will also join forces with the Dutch Ragazze Quartet to perform the world premiere of a new work by Yannis Kyriakides. In addition, they will play a few pieces from their Fifty for the Future repertoire, which comprises fifty commissions awarded by the Kronos Quartet to a range of composers over a period of five years. This concert is testament that Kronos are still at the leading edge with their keen sense of adventure and excellent performances.



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Aleksandra Vrebalov / My Desert, My Rose * (Dutch premiere)
composed for Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire


Merlijn Twaalfhoven / New work (world premiere)


N. Rajam (arr. Reena Esmail) / Dadra in Raga Bhairavi ** (Dutch premiere)

Yotam Haber / break break break * (Dutch premiere)
composed for Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire

Yannis Kyriakides / The Lost Border Dances (world premiere)


Sahba Aminikia / Târ o Pood (Warp and Weft) * (Dutch premiere)
I. Tarh
II. Bâft
III. Pardâkht
Video by Vafa Khatami

Laurie Anderson (arr. Jacob Garchik) / Flow **

Donnacha Dennehy / One Hundred Goodbyes (Céad Slán) * (Dutch premiere)
I. Is Léan Liom (I grieve for you)
II. Tomás Bán (White Thomas)
III. Céad Slán Dhuit (A Hundred Goodbyes to You)

 composed for Kronos Quartet
** arranged for Kronos Quartet

programme subject to change

For the next five years, the Kronos Quartet will have their work cut out for them. The world famous string quartet from San Francisco have embarked on a monster project called Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire. The project involves fifty new works, commissioned from fifty composers from all over the world, equally divided between 25 men and 25 women. 

The Holland Festival is one of the Legacy Partners contributing to the project's realisation, in partnership with the Kronos Performing Arts Association and others.

Every commission will be a complete score, around ten minutes in duration, and become part of the Kronos Quartet's already extensive repertoire. Each year, for five years in a row, Kronos will premiere ten of these commissioned works and create companion digital materials, including scores, recordings and pedagogical materials such as instruction or rehearsal videos. In addition, the quartet will publish interviews in print and on video with composers and Kronos members, as well as background information and materials explaining the required techniques for each piece. All these materials will be freely available through the internet, to guide enthusiastic young amateur and early-professional string players in developing and honing the skills required for the performance of 21st-century repertoire. 

In its rich history the Kronos Quartet have always focused on new projects, innovation and special collaborations with often non-western composers and musicians. Kronos’ Fifty for the Future will look even further ahead, to the future of string quartet performance practice in general.

According to David Harrington, the Kronos Quartet's founder and artistic director, there is no shortage of string quartet repertoire or educational resources available to today’s young musicians who wish to specialise in the canon of works up to the mid-20th century. But there is no coordinated body of work devoted to guiding students in the most contemporary approaches to the string quartet. Kronos’ Fifty for the Future project will respond to this need. Commissioning and publishing fifty compact new pieces, the quartet will create an impressive library of contemporary scores which will not only provide an overview of the modern repertoire, but also present this music as a living and accessible art form and provide emerging musicians with a blueprint for their own future collaborations with composers.

Having worked with leading composers for more than four decades, Kronos has an extensive network to realise this project. The first ten composers include young as well as older composers from a variety of countries, including Mali, China and the United States. Two of these ten composers are from the Netherlands: Yotam Haber and Merlijn Twaalfhoven. Their pieces will premiere in the 2015/2016 season.

According to Harrington, the whole project has been inspired by Béla Bartóks Mikrokosmos, a compilation of 153 pieces for piano, which Bartók wrote for his son as an entry point to his piano studies. Each piece explores an essential part of piano technique. Also, just as important, each piece is a serious composition.

This is an essential feature of the project. 'Each piece is a real piece,' Harrington stresses. ‘Not a simple, watered down version of reality, but a serious addition to the repertoire, a real investment in the future.' An important motivation for the Kronos Quartet is to make music accessible to everyone. This can only be done using the best scores around.


Some of this music will be performed in this concert at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, including a number of scores by Dutch composers or composers living in the Netherlands. As well as Merlijn Twaalfhoven's new score, the quartet will play break break break by Yotam Haber, a Dutch-born composer living in the United States displaying his love of special tone colours in this piece. Another Dutch contribution is by Yannis Kyriakides, a Cypriot composer who has been living and working in the Netherlands for years. For the performance of his The Lost Folk Dances of Southern Europe, a pieceinspired by his cultural roots, the Kronos Quartet will join forces with the Dutch Ragazze Quartet. Serbian-American composer Aleksandra Vrebalov's music is also often inspired by the folk music from her native country. The quartet will perform her piece My desert, My Rose, part of their 2016 Kronos’ Fifty for the Future collection. Another Kronos partner who likes to mix contemporary classical music with the sounds from her home country is the Iranian-American composer Sahba Aminikia. In Tar o Pood, he alternates pulsating rhythms and sharp beats with etheral sound fields mixed with recordings of a woman's voice. The Kronos Quartets' interest in Asian music is reflected in their arrangement of Dadra in Raga Bhairavi, composed by the legendary Indian violinist N. Rajam. The audience is also treated to an arrangement of Flow, a violin piece written by celebrated performance artist Laurie Anderson. The concert is concluded by One Hundred Goodbyes by the Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy. Inspired by minimalism and fond of electronics, Dennehy combines the string quartet with recording tape in this aptly titled finale.


Formed in 1973, the Kronos Quartet is one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time. With a staff of 11 based in San Francisco, the non-profit Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, education programs, concert tours and local performances. 

Combining their pioneering vision on string quartet music with their tireless passion for performance and their boundless zest for new collaborations, Kronos have gradually risen to prominence. Currently consisting of David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Sunny Yang (cello), the quartet have released more than 50 albums, won many awards and commissioned more than 850 original compositions, including work by Terry Riley, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams. They have also worked extensively with leading names outside of classical music - in jazz, pop and rock - performing music by Thelonious Monk, Jimi Hendrix, Björk and Sigur Rós. In film music, the quartet played Clint Mansell's soundtrack to Requiem for a Dream. The quartet also specialise in non-western musical traditions. A substantial number of composers involved in their ambitious new project Kronos’ Fifty for the Future are from non-Western countries and cultures, ranging from Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh to Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq. The quartet have always been popular guests at the Holland Festival. The last time was in 2014, when they accompanied the Nederlands Dans Theater's Programma V: Spiritwalking at the festival. Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire is their latest project.


The Ragazze Quartet (Rosa Arnols and Jeanita Vriens, violin; Annemijn Bergkotte, viola; Rebecca Wise, cello) is a young Dutch string quartet who stand out with their musical enthusiasm, talent, stage presence and especially their versatility. From their background in classical music, the quartet frequently seek to collaborate with composers, musicians and artists from other music or art backgrounds. Giving equal weight to any of the approaches or disciplines involved, their aim is for these different styles and forms to complement and reinforce each other. The Ragazze Quartet's members followed the two-year full-time course at the Nederlanse StrijkKwartet Academie (NSKA, Dutch String Quartet Academy). After their graduation in 2011, they were coached by the Ysaÿe Quartet's Luc Marie Aguera. In 2007, the quartet toured Nepal and were selected for Het Debuut (The Debut), which is a series of concerts at some of the Netherlands' major venues for chamber music. In March 2010, the Ragazze Quartet were selected as one of only three quartets in the world to participate in a masterclass by the famous Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall in New York. In 2012 the Ragazze Quartet signed for three albums with Channel Classics Records. Their first two CDs, Vivere (March 2013) and Cesko (April 2015) were received with great acclaim by the domestic and international press. In October 2013, the quartet won the Kersjes van de Groenekan Prize for exceptional talent in Dutch chamber music. That same year, they were invited to perform at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland and toured China, followed by tours in Japan and Indonesia in 2014.




Donnacha Dennehy, Laurie Anderson, Yannis Kyriakides a.o.
performed by
Kronos Quartet:
David Harrington (viool),
John Sherba (viool),
Hank Dutt (altviool),
Sunny Yang (cello)
Ragazze Quartet

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