Kronos Sessions

Kronos Quartet, Trio Da Kali, Jherek Bischoff, Vân-Ánh Võ, Mahsa Vahdat, Ragazze Quartet, Ebonit Quartet a.o.

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The world-famous Kronos Quartet will take over the Muziekgebouw and the Bimhuis for a whole day. Immerse yourself in this mini-festival with concerts, films, public master classes and plenty of music by Kronos and friends. Kronos will show why it is one of the world’s most curious and adventurous string quartets. Mali’s Trio Da Kali will be performing on stage, as well as the American multi-instrumentalist Jherek Bischoff, the Vietnamese-American musician Vân-Ánh Võ and the Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat – both on their own and with Kronos. The Dutch Ragazze Quartet will be playing its favourite Kronos classics. Also the saxophonists of the Ebonit Quartet will make an appearance. See surprising collaborations, meet talented young string quartets and discover new music from around the world.

programme

Muziekgebouw, Grote zaal
1:00 pm - Kronos Quartet & Mahsa Vadhat
3:45 pm - Ragazze plays Kronos Classics with Kapok
6:15 pm - Kronos Quartet & Vân-Ánh Võ & Jherek Bischoff
9:00 pm - Kronos Quartet & Trio Da Kali (sold out)
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Bimhuis
2:30 pm - Jherek Bischoff, stargaze strings
5:00 pm - Trio Da Kali
7:45 pm - Masterclass David Harrington
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Muziekgebouw, Kleine zaal
2:30 pm - Masterclass Sunny Yang & John Sherba
5:00 pm - Mahsa Vahdat
7:45 pm - Vân-Ánh Võ
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Atriumzaal
2:30 pm - Masterclass Hank Dutt
5:00 pm - Fifty for the Future Talk
7:45 pm - Ebonit Saxophone Quartet
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Atriumkamer
- films
2:15 pm  - Heat 
5:00 pm - Dracula
7:45 pm - Beyond Zero
8:45 pm - Requiem for a Dream
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Foyderdeck 1 / Fifty for the Future stage
2:00 pm - Babylon Quartet
3:15 pm - Pelargos Kwartet
4:30 pm - De Formule
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background information

Since its foundation in 1973, San Francisco's Kronos Quartet has become one of the most celebrated string quartets of our time. Their pioneering reimagining of the string quartet experience, relentless

performance schedule and shared disregard for musical borders has earned them a permanent place in the spotlight. The quartet — currently made up of David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Sunny Yang (cello) — has released more than sixty albums, won numerous awards and commissioned more than 900 works for string quartet from some of classical music’s most important composers, including Terry Riley, Missy Mazzoli, Arvo Pärt, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Steve Reich, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Philip Glass. Their collaborative partners and musical selections from the worlds of jazz, pop, rock and other genres have been just as progressive, and include names such as Thelonious Monk, Jimi Hendrix, Björk and Sigur Rós. They have also recorded the soundtracks to several films, among which was Clint Mansell’s score for Requiem for a Dream. The Kronos Quartet are renowned for their interest in and engagement with music of non-Western origin. Many of the composers involved in the quartet’s ambitious education and legacy project, Fifty for the Future, are from a variety of non-Western countries and cultures, and include artists like Wu Man, the Chinese pipa player and Tanya Tagaq, the Inuit throat singer. The quartet are a cherished favourite of visitors to the Holland Festival. They accompanied the Nederlands Dans Theater for a performance at the festival in 2014, and returned two years later to perform at the Holland Festival Proms, during which they played some of the commissioned works for Fifty for the Future

Mahsa Vahdat is one of the most notable performers of Persian vocal music in the world today. She graduated from Tehran Arts University in 1995, and developed a personal musical style that is rooted in Persian classical and folk music but imbued with contemporary expression in a way that allows her work to address the modern world. Vahdat performs internationally, both independently and in collaboration with musicians from Iran, Europe and the United States. She also performs regularly with her sister, Marjan Vahdat, with whom she has made a number of recordings, all released through Kirkelig Kulturverksted, the Norwegian record label to which she is signed. Vahdat writes much of her own music, often basing her lyrics on the works of classical and contemporary Persian poets, and sometimes enlists her husband, the composer and Persian setar player Atabak Elyasi, in song arrangement. Despite being unable to perform in public in Iran — owing to an edict issued in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution forbidding female singers from performing for men — the sisters command a huge following both at home and abroad. In 2007, in response to such restrictions, Vahdat became a Freemuse ambassador, thereby taking an active and ongoing role in the international fight for freedom of artistic expression. Vahdat teaches Persian classical singing and runs vocal workshops for young women from Iran and abroad. 

The Ragazze Quartet consists of Rosa Arnold, Jeanita Vriens, Annemijn Bergkotte and Rebecca Wise. The quartet plays both classical repertoire for string quartet and modern compositions, and works with some of the most original voices in theatre and dance today. Their richly expressive performances enthuse seasoned fans of classical music and newcomers alike, drawing new listeners to the genre as well as to the world of string quartet music. The quartet signed to the Channel Classics label in 2012 and released their first album, Vivere, the following year, attracting both national and international critical acclaim. In October of the same year, 2013, they won the Kersjes Prize, an award bestowed each year on an ensemble of exceptional talent in the Dutch chamber music scene. They released their fourth album, FourFourThree, in 2016, and won Gramophone magazine’s Editor's Choice award. The quartet combines regular work with young musicians and theatre practitioners with collaborations with leading performance companies such as the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) and the Kronos Quartet, the latter with whom they took a masterclass in 2010, and performed with at the Holland Festival in 2016.  

Vân-Ánh Võ is one of the finest performers on Vietnamese traditional instruments in the world. In 1995, she won the championship title in the Vietnamese National Đàn Tranh (zither) Competition. In addition to the zither, Võ also plays the bau (monocord), the dan t’rung (bamboo xylophone) and the trong (traditional drums), among other instruments. She was the first artist of Vietnamese origin to perform at the White House. Võ is also rapidly emerging as a composer, writing music that blends the distinctive sounds of Vietnamese instruments with a variety of Western genres, an endeavour that has made her a frequent collaborator with other musicians. The works that emerge from these collaborations have allowed her to expose Vietnamese traditional music to a much wider audience. These works, along with her teaching, also act as a means to preserving her cultural legacy. Võ composed the soundtrack to the documentaries Daughter from Danang (2002), Bolinao 52 (2008) and A Village Called Versailles (2009). She has, in addition, recorded three albums of her own, the most recent of which, Three-Mountain Pass, a collaboration with the Kronos Quartet, was released to widespread acclaim. Võ has also performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Southwest Chamber Music, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and a variety of artists from the worlds of jazz, rap and other genres. She has appeared on stage all over the world, from Carnegie Hall in New York to the London Olympic Games 2012 Music Festival. In 2016, Vân-Ánh Võ premiered The Odyssey - from Vietnam to America, a multimedia piece about the refugee experience that resulted from the Vietnam War and the subsequent economic sanctions, in which she integrated Vietnamese and Western instruments, video, field recordings and interviews with survivors. Võ was nominated for an Academy Award for her work on Daughter from Danang, and won an Emmy Award for Bolinao 52. 

Jherek Bischoff is a Los Angeles-based composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He has performed at venues and festivals all over the world, including the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Radio City Music Hall. His list of collaborations includes work with the Kronos Quartet — for whom he has composed commissioned works — Bang on a Can, David Byrne, Robert Wilson and Neil Gaiman, among others, and his work has also been performed by the Seattle Symphony, the Adelaide Art Orchestra and Stargaze. His critically acclaimed albums include Cistern and Composed, and the co-release Strung Out In Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute. In August 2016, Bischoff was the artist in residence for Times Square’s Midnight Moment, which included a nightly broadcast of his video for “Cistern” on Times Square's electronic billboards and culminated in two live performances in the middle of Times Square. Bischoff’s composition and performance credits in film and television include his work on Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, and his theatre work includes The Sandman, a collaboration with Robert Wilson for the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer, for Theater Basel, and Johnny Breitwieser, for the Schauspielhaus in Vienna.

The three members of Trio Da Kali are exponents of southern Mali’s Mandé culture. Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté is the trio’s vocalist, Lassana Diabaté plays the balafon, a West African xylophone, and Bassekou Kouyaté plays the bass n'goni, a West African lute. The trio aims to lend a contemporary twist to ancient and neglected repertoires. Trio Da Kali was formed in 2014, originally to develop a collaborative project with the Kronos Quartet. David Harrington, first violinist of the Kronos Quartet, described their work together as one of the most beautiful collaborations of the quartet’s 40-year career. The trio and quartet had their debut live performance at the Clarice Smith Center for Performing Arts in Maryland, and came together again in 2015 to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The studio recording of their collaboration, “Ladilikan”, was chosen by several publications as one of the best releases of 2017. Since their formation, Trio Da Kali have performed at several major venues and festivals across the world, including the Royal Albert Hall, Théâtre de la Ville and the London Jazz Festival. Besides their success as a trio, the three musicians also maintain independent careers, and each has several recordings to their name. Following the successful collaboration with the Kronos Quartet, Lassana was invited to contribute a new composition to the quartet’s Fifty for the Future project, a library of works consisting primarily of compositions from non-Western countries and cultures.

The Ebonit Saxophone Quartet was founded in 2011 while its members — who hail from Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and Russia — were students at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. The quartet has performed at major venues at home and abroad, and at internationally renowned festivals such as the Verbier Festival, the Heidelberger Frühling, the Würzburger Bachtage and the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam. They have won major honours at several international competitions, including an award from the International Chamber Music Campus in Weikersheim, Germany, bestowed to acknowledge the quartet as one of the most convincing new ensembles of 2016, and the APCAV prize, in 2017, from the Verbier Festival Academy. The quartet toured the Netherlands in 2016/2017 as laureates of the Dutch Classical Talent competition. Following their period of study with Arno Bornkamp at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the four members of the quartet went on to complete the post-doctoral programme at the Dutch String Quartet Academy (NSKA). They also took masterclasses with Eberhart Feltz, Peter Cropper and Heime Müller, among others, as well as with members of the Artemis Quartet, the Belcea Quartet, the Kronos Quartet, the French Habanera Saxophone Quartet and the Berlin based clair-obscur saxophone quartet.  To expand the repertoire for their format, the Ebonit Saxophone Quartet collaborates on a regular basis with a number of composers, including Richard Whalley, Kevin Malone and Valentin Villard. Their debut album, The Last Words of Christ, which includes music by Haydn, Webern, Sibelius and Shostakovich, was released in February 2016 on the Challenge Classics label and nominated for an Edison Klassiek award.

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