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Kronos Quartet Concert to Protest Muslim Ban

September 24, 2018

Once again, for the fourth decade running, the Kronos Quartet addresses an important political issue directly with a concert of contemporary world music.

“Music for Change: the Banned Countries,” Oct. 20 in Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall, protests President Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” with music by the rich diversity of artistic voices from the original, seven banned countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. (In June, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Trump’s third version of the travel ban, which added Chad, North Korea, and Yemen, leaving out Iraq and Sudan.)

With support from Stanford University’s Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program In Iranian Studies, and featuring Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat, the Grammy-winning ensemble of David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello) will also embark on an international tour with the program.

Founder and first violinist Harrington says of “Music for Change”: “Increasingly, I feel my role as an artist is to point in constructive musical and cultural directions as we attempt to help repair the torn fabric of our society.”

Planned performances of “Music for Change” include:

  • 10/20 — Stanford, California: Stanford Live, Bing Concert Hall (World Premiere)

  • 11/2 — Oslo, Norway: Oslo World, Cosmopolite Scene

  • 12/4 — Santa Barbara, California: UC Santa Barbara Arts and Lectures, Campbell Hal

  • 2/8/19 — New York, New York: Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall

  • 3/2/19 — Washington D.C.: Washington Performing Arts, Sixth & I

  • 5/9/19 — Sonoma, California: Green Music Center

For 45 years, Kronos has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience. Recent collaborations include Vahdat, filmmakers Sam Green and Joe Bini, Malian griots Trio Da Kali, Chinese-American pipa player Wu Man, American visual artist Trevor Paglen, and English-American noise artist David Coulter. Others include American singer-songwriters Rhiannon Giddens and Jolie Holland, spoken-word poets from the Bay Area-based nonprofit Youth Speaks, Icelandic indy rock band múm, and American experimental artists Laurie Anderson and CocoRosie.

The ever-busy quartet is partnering for the first time with San Francisco’s LINES Ballet in Yerba Buena Center, Oct. 5–14, in selections choreographer Alonzo King is setting from Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire.

Kronos is also featured in a new Vietnam War documentary, The Whistleblower of My Lai, a film by Emmy-winning director Connie Field that features footage from My Lai: A monodrama for tenor, string quartet, and Vietnamese instruments, and interviews with the creative team.

Composed by Jonathan Berger, with a libretto by Harriet Scott Chessman, and directed and designed by Mark DeChiazza and Rinde Eckert, the My Lai chamber opera is an intimate character study of the My Lai massacre whistleblower Hugh Thompson.

Kronos Quartet, Eckert, and Vân Ánh Võ have previously performed My Lai at Stanford Live (concert version), Harris Theater for Music and Dance (premiere), Singapore International Festival of Arts, BAM, Cal Performances, CAP UCLA, and the Hancher and Holland Festival.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].