World famous Kronos Quartet play hit repertoire as well as new work

Holland Festival Proms:
Kronos Quartet

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As far as string quartets go, it doesn’t get more adventurous than the world famous Kronos Quartet from San Francisco. The quartet, artists in residence at this year’s Holland Festival, will perform a special concert at the Holland Festival Proms, playing their greatest hits as well as new work commissioned as part of their Fifty for the Future project. The familiar repertoire includes work by Bryce Dessner (The National), Syrian singer Omar Souleyman and Terry Riley, as well as two compositions by Clint Mansell and Vladimir Martynov which were used in the films Requiem for a Dream and La Grande Bellezza. The programme will also feature a guest performance by the amazing Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq. She wrote a new piece for the Kronos Quartet, which will have its European premiere.


Omar Souleyman (1966) (arr. Jacob Garchik)
La Sidounak Sayyada (2014)**

Bryce Dessner (1976)
Aheym (Homeward) (2013)*

Pete Townshend (1945) (arr. Jacob Garchik)
Baba O’Riley (1993)**

Terry Riley (1935)
One Earth, One People, One Love (2002)*
from Sun Rings

Clint Mansell (1963) (arr. David Lang)
Lux Aeterna **
from Requiem for a Dream

Tanya Tagaq (1977) (European premiere)
NEW WORK (2016)*

Vladimir Martynov (1946)
The Beatitudes (1998)**

* written for Kronos Quartet
** arranged for Kronos Quartet

Holland Festival Proms

Six concerts by world class artists in one day at the Concertgebouw, standing tickets for only 10 euros per concert, seating on the balconies and the stage. That is the Holland Festival Proms, the concerts held on the festival’s final weekend, hosted by Thomas van Luyn. Throughout the afternoon and evening, ensembles ranging from the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra to American singer-songwriter Ben Folds with yMusic, and from the Kronos Quartet to a Moroccan Gnawa ensemble will perform on stage. Opening with a family concert from the Netherlands, the programme will journey through different genres round the world to conclude with a Malian version by Terry Riley’s minimal masterpiece In C. And if you still can’t get enough, you can join our festive afterparty.

Background information

The world famous Kronos Quartet is artist in residence at this year's Holland Festival. The string quartet will offer an important contribution to the festival with a concert illustrating their adventurous repertoire and open mind. First up are several crossovers with pop music, such as Baba O‘Riley (1971), one of The Who's greatest hits and very possibly the first ever pop song inspired by minimalist music. 

Also, many of the composers whose work is performed in this concert have a background in pop music, ranging from Bryce Dessner (the National) to Clint Mansell (former lead singer of Pop Will Eat Itself). The Kronos Quartet will also perform an arrangement of a wedding song by Omar Souleyman, king of Syrian techno. 

Another popular part of the Kronos Quartet's repertoire is film music that blends classical music and pop culture. The concert will feature two great hits from their film music collection: Vladimir Martynov's The Beatitudes (used in La Grande Belezza, 2014) and Clint Mansell's Lux Aeterna (which appeared on the soundtrack for Requiem for a Dream, 2000). Their spiritual titles fit in neatly with Terry Riley's serene One Earth, One People, One Love (2002). Written as part of Sun Rings, a collaboration between NASA and the Kronos Quartet, Riley's piece blends pre-recorded sounds from space with ethereal string harmonies.

The concert concludes with two composers who focus on their national identities and personal backgrounds in their music. The minimalist, expressive Aheym ('homebound') by New York composer Bryce Dessner deals with his background as a descendant of Jewish immigrants. Throat singer Tanya Tagaq champions the endangered Inuit culture in her music. She is one of the selected composers for Kronos' Fifty for the Future project, which they launched to give a new impulse to the contemporary string quartet. At the Holland Festival Proms, Tagaq (who will also give her own concert at the festival) will feature in the Kronos Quartet's European premiere performance of the piece she wrote for them.



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.

Canadian throat singer Tanya Tagaq (1975) was born to an Inuit mother and a British-Polish father. Her Inuit background plays a significant part in her work. Tagaq has breathed new life into the Inuit's ancient throat singing techniques by combining them with other genres such as jazz, heavy metal, punk, hardcore, electronic and classical music.

While studying visual arts in Halifax, she developed her throat singing technique and started performing. Icelandic pop singer Björk picked up on her talent and asked her to collaborate on her album Medúlla in 2004. In 2005 Tagaqs solo debut album Sinaa was released, winning her the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. In 2006, Tagaq worked with the Kronos Quartet for the first time, as part of their Nunavat project. Their collaboration was captured in the documentary A String Quartet in her Throat, which was released in 2007. Since, Tagaq's work with the Quartet has continued with several collaborative projects. These include their CD Tundra Songs (2014), featuring compositions by Derek Charke and the Kronos Quartet's Fifty for the Future project.

Tagaq has won several prizes for her solo albums as well as her soundtracks for films on Inuit culture. The short film for her song Tungijuq won Best Multi Media at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2010. In 2014, she received recognition from the Globe and Mail newspaper as Artist of the Year, and from Now Magazine for Concert of the Year. That same year, her album Animism fought off competition from Drake and Arcade Fire to claim the prestigious Canadian Polaris Music Prize. In 2015, Tagaq won the Juno Award for Best Aboriginal Recording of the Year.



Bruce Dessner,
Clint Mansell,
Vladimir Martynov,
Terry Riley,
Omar Souleyman,
Tanya Tagaq,
Pete Townshend

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