For more than 30 years, the California-based Kronos Quartet has created eerily dark yet beautifully poignant works that reflect their artistic vision of "combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet."
Inspiration for the quartet's formation came in 1973, when violinist David Harrington heard George Crumb's Vietnam War-inspired Black Angels, an experimental string-quartet piece that incorporated unorthodox instrumentation such as crystal glasses, maracas, gongs, and spoken passages.
Since then, the Kronos Quartet has instilled in their music this same experimental creativity and has released more than 40 diverse recordings. Their music has been featured on movie soundtracks for Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream and Dracula, a special video re-release of the 1931 film featuring an original score composed by Philip Glass. They have collaborated with numerous artists, including David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Sigur Rós, Terry Riley, and Tom Waits.
Sudden shifts from frantic arpeggio to slow, shrill vibrato shape the quartet's music, and their weeping strings seem to breathe in the echoing silence and then swallow it. Their arrangements are sometimes somber but always moving.
The Kronos Quartet tours five months out of the year, playing at venues across the world. They will be at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, March 15th.
Kronos Quartet at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre, Saturday, March 15th, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35-$45.