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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kronos Quartet's Unlikely Collaborations

Kronos Quartet, photo by Jay Blakesburg

Few string quartets can claim to have been around for over 40 years, small changes in personnel aside. But fewer still—we'll go out on a limb and say precisely zero, aside from Kronos Quartet—can boast of having commissioned over 800 new works and collaborated with so many artists outside of the classical and new-music purview. Maybe no one told Nine Inch Nails, the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks, Tom Waits, Noam Chomsky, or even Kronos itself that the string quartet was born out of the princely courts of 18th-century Austria and not the postmodern schizophrenia of the shuffle mode. But whatever the reason for their open-minded audaciousness, we're grateful for it.

Add Natalie Merchant, Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, and Rhiannon Giddens (September 20), as well as Laurie Anderson (September 23—27) to the list, all of whom are coming to BAM with Kronos as part of Nonesuch Records at BAM. For a little context, here are 10 other Kronos collaborations that have turned preconceived notions of their genre inside out.

1. With Tom Waits | "God's Away On Business"

2. With Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks | "Turceasca"

3. With Patti Smith | "Mercy Is"

4. With Nine Inch Nails | "Another Version of the Truth"

5. With pipa player Wu Man | "Ghost Opera" (Tan Dun)

6. With Malian singer and guitarist Rokia Traoré | "Bownboi"

7. With Allen Ginsberg | "Howl"

8. With jazz bassist Eddie Gomez | "Very Early"


9. With accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen and electronic musician Samuli Kosminen | Uniko VII: "Avara"

10. With Noam Chomsky | Chomsky Suite (Tod Machover)

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