Kronos Quartet Head to NZ, Four Concerts

Inventive, eclectic, experimental and exhilarating – Kronos Quartet returns to New Zealand in March 2013 for four concerts only to open Chamber Music New Zealand’s 2013 Kaleidoscopes season.

One of the most renowned ensembles of contemporary musicians, this year marks the 40th birthday of the KronosQuartet, and to celebrate they are bringing the best of the music of our time for a four-centre, landmark New Zealand tour opening in Auckland on Saturday 9 March with a special concert with renowned pipa player Wu Man for Auckland Arts Festival, followed by concerts in WellingtonDunedin and Christchurch.

Featuring David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello), Kronos Quartet tells the stories of new music like no other. Employing pre-recorded tape, amplification and spectacular virtuosity, the American ensemble has spent 40 years travelling the globe and constantly experimenting with what it means to be a string quartet.

For the Auckland Arts Festival concert on Saturday 9 March, they are joined by renowned pipa player Wu Man to perform two of their best known works: Tan Dun’sGhost Opera, based on Chinese spirituality and ritual and using water, stone and paper in a compelling audio-visual experience; and A Chinese Home, a rich and layered soundscape conceived by Wu Man and David Harrington, and directed by Chen Shi-Zheng.

The programme for the concerts in Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch are classic Kronos; beginning with their transformative Indian raga and ranging from ancient Serbia to modern-day New Zealand, taking in Jack Body’s Arum Manis, written for Kronos in 1991; and the transcendental third string quartet by the man considered by Arvo Pärt to be the world’s 'greatest living composer' – Valentin Silvestrov, from the Ukraine.

WTC 9/11, by Steve Reich, is one of Kronos’s signature works and the most moving and immediate of all those written in response to the World Trade Centre tragedy: and …hold me, neighbor, in this storm… is a recent Kronos commission from Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov, fusing the modern western string quartet with Orthodox plainchant and the instruments of the ancient Serbian poets.