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Tan Dun: Ghost Opera

News & Reviews

  • Stanford Live 2014–15 Season Includes Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer, Toumani Diabaté, Emmylou Harris, Kronos Quartet, Brad Mehldau

    Stanford Live has announced its 2014–15 season, and featured among the performers taking the stage at Bing Concert Hall are a number of artists familiar to readers of the Nonesuch Journal: Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer, Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté, Emmylou Harris, Kronos Quartet, and Brad Mehldau Trio, as well as the world premiere of a new piece by John Adams and a celebration of the work of Stephen Sondheim.

  • 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.

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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