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Tan Dun: Ghost Opera

News & Reviews

  • Watch: Kronos Quartet Celebrates 40th Anniversary at WQXR's The Greene Space in New York

    Nonesuch Records marked Kronos Quartet's 40th anniversary year with two releases this month: the Kronos Explorer Series five-CD box set and a new album, A Thousand Thoughts. As a highlight of its anniversary season, Kronos was in NYC to perform at Carnegie Hall late last month and was the subject of a marathon stream of music and tributes on Q2 Music, the online new-music station from WQXR. The event culminated in a live, performance by Kronos Quartet from The Greene Space at WQXR, which you can watch here.

  • "Kronos Explorer Series" Box Set & "A Thousand Thoughts" Out Now on Nonesuch Records

    Nonesuch celebrates Kronos Quartet, long known as interpreters of music from around the world, in its 40th anniversary year with two releases: Kronos Explorer Series, a box set of five classic albums from five different parts of the world, and A Thousand Thoughts, a new album that looks at Kronos’s geographically wide-ranging sources, featuring music from 14 different countries. Both are out today in North America (international release April 21). Kronos continues its anniversary celebration at the Switchboard Music Festival in its hometown of San Francisco this Saturday.

About this Album

Written by Chinese composer Tan Dun, Ghost Opera is a dramatic five-movement composition for string quartet and pipa—with vocalizations and percussive effects from water, metal, stone, and paper, performed by Kronos and Wu Man. The composition explores human spirituality, employing elements from Chinese, Tibetan, English, and American cultures, as well as a multitude of theatrical traditions. “Remarkable,” said the Los Angeles Times of the piece. “In this broad-minded, culture-bending opus, shards of Bach, Shakespeare, a bright pentatonic palette of Chinese origin and such sonic exotica as the water gong find peaceful and poignant coexistence.”


Kronos Quartet:
David Harrington, violin, water bowl, bowed gong, vocals, one-stringed lute, cymbals, stones
John Sherba, violin, paper whistle, vocals, cymbals, stones, one-stringed lute, bowed gong, waterbowl
Hank Dutt, viola, vocals, cymbals, stones, bowed gong, water bowl
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello, vocals, bowed gong, water bowl

Wu Man, pipa, soprano voice, vocals, bowed gong, tam-tam, Tibetan bells, paper

Produced by Judith Sherman
Recorded January 1996 at Skywalker Ranch, Nicasio, CA
Engineer: Craig Silvery
Assistant Engineer: Chris Haynes
Mastered by Judith Sherman and David Harrington at SoundByte Productions, New York City

Art Direction and Design by Frank Olinsky
Cover: Cylindrical Vessel Supported by Three Rhinoceros (late 14th c. BCE) by Don Hamilton

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

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