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  • Friday, June 21, 2013
    Kronos Quartet Announces 40th Anniversary Season
    Jay Blakesberg

    Kronos Quartet celebrates its 40th anniversary and launches a fifth decade with an array of projects and special events during its 2013–14 season. The milestone will be marked by a weeklong residency at Lincoln Center, coast-to-coast birthday concerts, a host of premieres, a Nonesuch CD boxed set, and performances around the globe. During the coming season, the Grammy Award–winning Quartet and its nonprofit Kronos Performing Arts Association will unveil more than a dozen commissioned works by the likes of Philip Glass, Bryce Dessner (of The National), Aleksandra Vrebalov, Dan Deacon, Mary Kouyoumdjian, David T. Little, and others, plus two film scores and a volume of commissioned works published by Boosey & Hawkes.

    The anniversary season opens with a free outdoor concert on Saturday, June 22 at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven. This performance introduces the new Kronos line-up of founding violinist and Artistic Director David Harrington, longtime members John Sherba (violin) and Hank Dutt (viola), and new cellist Sunny Yang.

    Since Kronos’ debut concert at North Seattle Community College in November, 1973, Kronos Quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world's most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians.

    Following is a chronological selection of highlights from the 40th anniversary season. Note: programs are subject to change. For additional details and ticket links, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    Kronos at 40: Special Events

    June 22 Season opener

    The 40th-anniversary season gets underway this Saturday, June 22, with a free outdoor show at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT. Taking place on the New Haven Green, it is the group’s first concert with new cellist Sunny Yang. Special guest Wu Man, a pipa virtuoso and a favorite of Kronos audiences, will join in music by Philip Glass, Nicole Lizée, Terry Riley, and others.

    July 14 Free mega-concert in San Francisco

    Stern Grove Festival concerts routinely attract some 8,000 listeners. Kronos headlines a hometown bill that includes Bay Area artists Real Vocal String Quartet and Geographer with Magik*Magik Quartet. Highlights of Kronos’ program include the world premiere of Notoation, a festival-commissioned work by electronic musician Amon Tobin; Death Is the Road to Awe by Clint Mansell, from his soundtrack to Darren Aronofsky’s film The Fountain; plus works by Café Tacvba, Ramallah Underground, and others.

    July 24–28 Lincoln Center Out of Doors celebrates KRONOS at 40

    Lincoln Center presents KRONOS at 40, a five-day program comprising 28 free performances on Lincoln Center’s plazas during the opening week of this year’s Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival. Described as a “festival within a festival,” KRONOS at 40 was curated in collaboration with Kronos and Bill Bragin, Lincoln Center’s Director of Public Programming. Kronos’ programs include ten premieres (including eight newly commissioned works), plus collaborations with dance, pop musicians and beyond-genre performers including Dan Deacon and Jherek Bischoff. The week also features My Brightest Diamond, Dan Zanes, Superhuman Happiness, a new work for 80 dancers set to Kronos’ recordings by Mark Dendy Dance & Theater Projects, and many others.

    In a companion exhibition, the New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, Plaza Corridor Gallery, presents For the Record: The World of Kronos on Nonesuch Records (June 26–August 30), featuring original Kronos album cover artwork, composers’ manuscript materials, international awards, Kronos listening stations, and more.

    August 3 + 4 Kronos at Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

    On August 3, Marin Alsop conducts Kronos and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in award-winning film composer Thomas Newman’s It Got Dark. August 4 brings a characteristically eclectic program with special guest performer/ composer Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, a master of the Vietnamese dan tranh zither, along with pieces by Michael Gordon, Pamela Z, and others, including an arrangement of Richard Wagner’s Prelude from Tristan und Isolde created for Kronos by Aleksandra Vrebalov.

    September 9–15 First-Time Destination: Five concerts in Bogotá

    The globe-trotting quartet makes its debut this season in Bogotá, Colombia, on September 9–15, where its residency is highlighted by Thomas Newman’s It Got Dark with the Bogotá Philharmonic and three different concert programs featuring recent commissions and new works. In another first this season, Kronos visits Kiev, Ukraine, on July 5.

    November 16 Birthday concert at Neptune Theatre in Seattle

    Kronos Quartet returns to its Seattle roots exactly 40 years to the month from its first concert. The anniversary program at the historic Neptune Theatre will highlight a number of new Kronos-commissioned compositions, along with favorite works from the past four decades. Kronos will also be joined on stage—and among the audience —by Seattle's Degenerate Art Ensemble in a new work by DAE, uniting string quartet, six singers, and the ensemble’s unique strain of butoh-inspired dance.

    December 7 40th anniversary celebration in Berkeley

    Based in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 35 years, Kronos receives a birthday salute from Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. The program includes both next-generation guest artists and new works by eminent old friends Philip Glass (Bay Area premiere) and Terry Riley (Bay Area premiere, featuring a children's choir). The program also features a staged version of George Crumb's Black Angels, the work that inspired Kronos' founding, and a guest appearance by longtime Kronos collaborator Wu Man.

    March 14 40th anniversary celebration at Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA

    Along with the staged version of George Crumb’s Black Angels noted above, this anniversary concert at Royce Hall includes the Los Angeles premiere of Philip Glass’ Orion with guest artist Wu Man, plus Penderecki’s pioneering Quartetto per archi, Clint Mansell’s Death Is the Road to Awe, from his soundtrack to Darren Aronofsky’s film The Fountain, and other works.

    March 28, 2014 Kronos Quartet & Friends at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium

    The Quartet celebrates four decades with a milestone anniversary program featuring world premieres by Terry Riley and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, and pieces by Laurie Anderson, Aleksandra Vrebalov and others. Special guests include Wu Man and two highly accomplished teen ensembles from the Kronos Program at the Kaufman Music Center.

    Major Premieres

    Characteristically for Kronos, commissioned composers whose works premiere in the 2013-14 season represent an extraordinary variety of voices. They come from all over the world, encompass familiar names and newcomers, and include artists from the Western classical tradition, rockers, folk musicians, laptop wizards, experimentalists, and many who defy categorization.

    Both Philip Glass and Terry Riley have longstanding relationships with Kronos and are delivering new works for the anniversary season. Glass’ String Quartet No. 6 receives its world premiere on October 19 at the Chan Centre in Vancouver, followed by the US premiere at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas on October 21 and the East Coast debut on October 24 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, Maryland. This new work, Glass’ sixth quartet written for Kronos, was commissioned by the Chan Centre, the Smith Center, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and others. Riley’s score will be his 27th for Kronos. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the new work will be a centerpiece of Kronos’ 40th-anniversary bash at Stern Auditorium on March 28.

    One of the season’s most ambitious commissions is a 40-minute, KPAA-produced collaboration with Serbian-born composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and noted filmmaker Bill Morrison, with additional creative consultation from David Harrington and visual artist Drew Cameron, premiering on April 6 at Hertz Hall at UC Berkeley. Bearing the working title World War I Chronicles, the piece draws on rare archival film footage and World War I–era music and texts, the work commemorates the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of “The Great War,” which began in Vrebalov’s home region of the Balkan Peninsula.

    In February (date TBA), Kronos will debut a new work written for the Quartet by Mary Kouyoumdjian, the composer selected from among nearly 400 applicants for this year’s Kronos: Under 30Project—a KPAA-produced commissioning and residency program for young composers that has elicited over 1300 applications from 58 countries since 2003.

    Kronos Offstage

    Recordings

    Early in 2014, Nonesuch will release a six-CD boxed set of Kronos discs on the label inspired by global music. The set will bring together five of the quartet’s most admired albums—Pieces of Africa, Nuevo, Floodplain, Caravan, and Night Prayers—with a sixth disc devoted to new tracks from a variety of sources, many of which have never been released on Nonesuch before. Among the selections will be the group’s first recordings for Nonesuch with Sunny Yang.

    Film Scores

    David Harrington served as music supervisor for Dirty Wars, which features performances by Kronos of music from the Middle East, plus cues composed by Harrington himself. Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond. With a strong cinematic style, the film unfolds through Scahill’s investigation and personal journey as he chases down this important human rights story. The film opened June 7 in Los Angeles, NYC, Washington, DC, and other cities worldwide.

    Kronos has recorded music composed by Jacob Garchik for the score of The Campaign, a feature documentary by Christie Herring telling the inside story of the fight to stop California’s controversial Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage and started a movement. With exclusive access to the state headquarters of the “No on 8” campaign in San Francisco, Herring captures the essence of this emotional journey. The Campaign, which also features several other Kronos recordings, explores fault lines of religion, race, and identity at a critical turning point in the push for LBGT rights, offering an intimate portrait of committed individuals, compelled by both circumstance and their passionate beliefs to go far beyond their everyday selv es. The film premieres at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival on June 23, and it will begin broadcasting on PBS stations early August.

    Residencies

    For two years, the Kronos Quartet has been Artist-in-Residence at Cal Performances. This season finds the Quartet on the University of California at Berkeley campus during both fall and spring semesters. Kronos will interact with students in the Department of Music, including coaching student ensembles and working with student composers, along with many other activities still being developed. There will also be a forum commemorating the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War, the subject of World War I Chronicles, which was co-commissioned by Cal Performances.

    Kronos is Artist-in-Residence at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in College Park, which is committed to commissioning new works and fostering engagements between UMD performing arts students and visiting artists. The East Coast premiere of Philip Glass’ String Quartet No. 6 (October 24), co-commissioned by CSPAC, will highlight Kronos’ residency. Kronos is also engaged for the fourth consecutive year in one-on-one coaching of SOM composition students and will hold a premiere reading of these student works for the public on February 20, 2014.

    The Kronos Program at Kaufman Music Center (New York City) will formalize a relationship between the Kronos Quartet and three string quartets from the Face the Music program. Members of Kronos will mentor the twelve pre-collegiate students in these quartets, who, like all members of Face the Music, study and perform only music by living composers. The Program activities will include coachings, a master class, repertoire guidance, and special student access to Kronos rehearsals and performances.

    The Kronos Collection, Vol. 2

    In 2007, Boosey & Hawkes and Kronos issued The Kronos Collection, compiling several touchstones of Kronos' repertoire - works by Terry Riley, Hamza El Din, and Aleksandra Vrebalov - in a single print volume, with details on the playing techniques used in these inventive pieces. February 28, 2014 brings the second volume of The Kronos Collection, featuring six Kronos-commissioned arrangements by MacArthur “Genius Award”–winning composer and longtime Kronos collaborator Osvaldo Golijov.

    For all the details on Kronos Quartet's upcoming season and more, visit kronosquartet.org.

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Kronos Quartet Announces 40th Anniversary Season

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on June 21, 2013 - 2:02pm
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Friday, June 21, 2013 - 15:00
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Kronos Quartet celebrates its 40th anniversary and launches a fifth decade with an array of projects and special events during its 2013–14 season. The milestone will be marked by a weeklong residency at Lincoln Center, coast-to-coast birthday concerts, a host of premieres, a Nonesuch CD boxed set, and performances around the globe. The Quartet will unveil more than a dozen commissioned works, plus two film scores and a volume of commissioned works published by Boosey & Hawkes. The anniversary season opens with a free outdoor concert this Saturday in New Haven that introduces the group's new cellist, Sunny Yang.

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Kronos Quartet celebrates its 40th anniversary and launches a fifth decade with an array of projects and special events during its 2013–14 season. The milestone will be marked by a weeklong residency at Lincoln Center, coast-to-coast birthday concerts, a host of premieres, a Nonesuch CD boxed set, and performances around the globe. During the coming season, the Grammy Award–winning Quartet and its nonprofit Kronos Performing Arts Association will unveil more than a dozen commissioned works by the likes of Philip Glass, Bryce Dessner (of The National), Aleksandra Vrebalov, Dan Deacon, Mary Kouyoumdjian, David T. Little, and others, plus two film scores and a volume of commissioned works published by Boosey & Hawkes.

The anniversary season opens with a free outdoor concert on Saturday, June 22 at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven. This performance introduces the new Kronos line-up of founding violinist and Artistic Director David Harrington, longtime members John Sherba (violin) and Hank Dutt (viola), and new cellist Sunny Yang.

Since Kronos’ debut concert at North Seattle Community College in November, 1973, Kronos Quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world's most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians.

Following is a chronological selection of highlights from the 40th anniversary season. Note: programs are subject to change. For additional details and ticket links, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

Kronos at 40: Special Events

June 22 Season opener

The 40th-anniversary season gets underway this Saturday, June 22, with a free outdoor show at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT. Taking place on the New Haven Green, it is the group’s first concert with new cellist Sunny Yang. Special guest Wu Man, a pipa virtuoso and a favorite of Kronos audiences, will join in music by Philip Glass, Nicole Lizée, Terry Riley, and others.

July 14 Free mega-concert in San Francisco

Stern Grove Festival concerts routinely attract some 8,000 listeners. Kronos headlines a hometown bill that includes Bay Area artists Real Vocal String Quartet and Geographer with Magik*Magik Quartet. Highlights of Kronos’ program include the world premiere of Notoation, a festival-commissioned work by electronic musician Amon Tobin; Death Is the Road to Awe by Clint Mansell, from his soundtrack to Darren Aronofsky’s film The Fountain; plus works by Café Tacvba, Ramallah Underground, and others.

July 24–28 Lincoln Center Out of Doors celebrates KRONOS at 40

Lincoln Center presents KRONOS at 40, a five-day program comprising 28 free performances on Lincoln Center’s plazas during the opening week of this year’s Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival. Described as a “festival within a festival,” KRONOS at 40 was curated in collaboration with Kronos and Bill Bragin, Lincoln Center’s Director of Public Programming. Kronos’ programs include ten premieres (including eight newly commissioned works), plus collaborations with dance, pop musicians and beyond-genre performers including Dan Deacon and Jherek Bischoff. The week also features My Brightest Diamond, Dan Zanes, Superhuman Happiness, a new work for 80 dancers set to Kronos’ recordings by Mark Dendy Dance & Theater Projects, and many others.

In a companion exhibition, the New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, Plaza Corridor Gallery, presents For the Record: The World of Kronos on Nonesuch Records (June 26–August 30), featuring original Kronos album cover artwork, composers’ manuscript materials, international awards, Kronos listening stations, and more.

August 3 + 4 Kronos at Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

On August 3, Marin Alsop conducts Kronos and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in award-winning film composer Thomas Newman’s It Got Dark. August 4 brings a characteristically eclectic program with special guest performer/ composer Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, a master of the Vietnamese dan tranh zither, along with pieces by Michael Gordon, Pamela Z, and others, including an arrangement of Richard Wagner’s Prelude from Tristan und Isolde created for Kronos by Aleksandra Vrebalov.

September 9–15 First-Time Destination: Five concerts in Bogotá

The globe-trotting quartet makes its debut this season in Bogotá, Colombia, on September 9–15, where its residency is highlighted by Thomas Newman’s It Got Dark with the Bogotá Philharmonic and three different concert programs featuring recent commissions and new works. In another first this season, Kronos visits Kiev, Ukraine, on July 5.

November 16 Birthday concert at Neptune Theatre in Seattle

Kronos Quartet returns to its Seattle roots exactly 40 years to the month from its first concert. The anniversary program at the historic Neptune Theatre will highlight a number of new Kronos-commissioned compositions, along with favorite works from the past four decades. Kronos will also be joined on stage—and among the audience —by Seattle's Degenerate Art Ensemble in a new work by DAE, uniting string quartet, six singers, and the ensemble’s unique strain of butoh-inspired dance.

December 7 40th anniversary celebration in Berkeley

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 35 years, Kronos receives a birthday salute from Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. The program includes both next-generation guest artists and new works by eminent old friends Philip Glass (Bay Area premiere) and Terry Riley (Bay Area premiere, featuring a children's choir). The program also features a staged version of George Crumb's Black Angels, the work that inspired Kronos' founding, and a guest appearance by longtime Kronos collaborator Wu Man.

March 14 40th anniversary celebration at Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA

Along with the staged version of George Crumb’s Black Angels noted above, this anniversary concert at Royce Hall includes the Los Angeles premiere of Philip Glass’ Orion with guest artist Wu Man, plus Penderecki’s pioneering Quartetto per archi, Clint Mansell’s Death Is the Road to Awe, from his soundtrack to Darren Aronofsky’s film The Fountain, and other works.

March 28, 2014 Kronos Quartet & Friends at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium

The Quartet celebrates four decades with a milestone anniversary program featuring world premieres by Terry Riley and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, and pieces by Laurie Anderson, Aleksandra Vrebalov and others. Special guests include Wu Man and two highly accomplished teen ensembles from the Kronos Program at the Kaufman Music Center.

Major Premieres

Characteristically for Kronos, commissioned composers whose works premiere in the 2013-14 season represent an extraordinary variety of voices. They come from all over the world, encompass familiar names and newcomers, and include artists from the Western classical tradition, rockers, folk musicians, laptop wizards, experimentalists, and many who defy categorization.

Both Philip Glass and Terry Riley have longstanding relationships with Kronos and are delivering new works for the anniversary season. Glass’ String Quartet No. 6 receives its world premiere on October 19 at the Chan Centre in Vancouver, followed by the US premiere at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas on October 21 and the East Coast debut on October 24 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, Maryland. This new work, Glass’ sixth quartet written for Kronos, was commissioned by the Chan Centre, the Smith Center, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and others. Riley’s score will be his 27th for Kronos. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the new work will be a centerpiece of Kronos’ 40th-anniversary bash at Stern Auditorium on March 28.

One of the season’s most ambitious commissions is a 40-minute, KPAA-produced collaboration with Serbian-born composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and noted filmmaker Bill Morrison, with additional creative consultation from David Harrington and visual artist Drew Cameron, premiering on April 6 at Hertz Hall at UC Berkeley. Bearing the working title World War I Chronicles, the piece draws on rare archival film footage and World War I–era music and texts, the work commemorates the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of “The Great War,” which began in Vrebalov’s home region of the Balkan Peninsula.

In February (date TBA), Kronos will debut a new work written for the Quartet by Mary Kouyoumdjian, the composer selected from among nearly 400 applicants for this year’s Kronos: Under 30Project—a KPAA-produced commissioning and residency program for young composers that has elicited over 1300 applications from 58 countries since 2003.

Kronos Offstage

Recordings

Early in 2014, Nonesuch will release a six-CD boxed set of Kronos discs on the label inspired by global music. The set will bring together five of the quartet’s most admired albums—Pieces of Africa, Nuevo, Floodplain, Caravan, and Night Prayers—with a sixth disc devoted to new tracks from a variety of sources, many of which have never been released on Nonesuch before. Among the selections will be the group’s first recordings for Nonesuch with Sunny Yang.

Film Scores

David Harrington served as music supervisor for Dirty Wars, which features performances by Kronos of music from the Middle East, plus cues composed by Harrington himself. Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond. With a strong cinematic style, the film unfolds through Scahill’s investigation and personal journey as he chases down this important human rights story. The film opened June 7 in Los Angeles, NYC, Washington, DC, and other cities worldwide.

Kronos has recorded music composed by Jacob Garchik for the score of The Campaign, a feature documentary by Christie Herring telling the inside story of the fight to stop California’s controversial Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage and started a movement. With exclusive access to the state headquarters of the “No on 8” campaign in San Francisco, Herring captures the essence of this emotional journey. The Campaign, which also features several other Kronos recordings, explores fault lines of religion, race, and identity at a critical turning point in the push for LBGT rights, offering an intimate portrait of committed individuals, compelled by both circumstance and their passionate beliefs to go far beyond their everyday selv es. The film premieres at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival on June 23, and it will begin broadcasting on PBS stations early August.

Residencies

For two years, the Kronos Quartet has been Artist-in-Residence at Cal Performances. This season finds the Quartet on the University of California at Berkeley campus during both fall and spring semesters. Kronos will interact with students in the Department of Music, including coaching student ensembles and working with student composers, along with many other activities still being developed. There will also be a forum commemorating the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War, the subject of World War I Chronicles, which was co-commissioned by Cal Performances.

Kronos is Artist-in-Residence at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in College Park, which is committed to commissioning new works and fostering engagements between UMD performing arts students and visiting artists. The East Coast premiere of Philip Glass’ String Quartet No. 6 (October 24), co-commissioned by CSPAC, will highlight Kronos’ residency. Kronos is also engaged for the fourth consecutive year in one-on-one coaching of SOM composition students and will hold a premiere reading of these student works for the public on February 20, 2014.

The Kronos Program at Kaufman Music Center (New York City) will formalize a relationship between the Kronos Quartet and three string quartets from the Face the Music program. Members of Kronos will mentor the twelve pre-collegiate students in these quartets, who, like all members of Face the Music, study and perform only music by living composers. The Program activities will include coachings, a master class, repertoire guidance, and special student access to Kronos rehearsals and performances.

The Kronos Collection, Vol. 2

In 2007, Boosey & Hawkes and Kronos issued The Kronos Collection, compiling several touchstones of Kronos' repertoire - works by Terry Riley, Hamza El Din, and Aleksandra Vrebalov - in a single print volume, with details on the playing techniques used in these inventive pieces. February 28, 2014 brings the second volume of The Kronos Collection, featuring six Kronos-commissioned arrangements by MacArthur “Genius Award”–winning composer and longtime Kronos collaborator Osvaldo Golijov.

For all the details on Kronos Quartet's upcoming season and more, visit kronosquartet.org.

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Kronos Quartet 2013 by Jay Blakesberg

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