News / USA

Kronos Quartet Premieres Iranian Composer's 'Threnody'

The Kronos Quartet rehearses 'Threnody for Those Who Remain' by Iranian composer Sahba Aminikia
The Kronos Quartet rehearses 'Threnody for Those Who Remain' by Iranian composer Sahba Aminikia

Multimedia

Behnam Nateghi

The Kronos Quartet began its Fall 2010 touring season in its hometown San Francisco, by premiering work by a young Iranian composer, along with a selection of new and recent compositions written in reaction to social and political turmoil.  Also on the program, an iconic piece about the Vietnam War era which the ensemble's founder says inspired the formation of the group.

The Kronos Quartet kicked off its tour at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Arts Center, with the world premiere of Iranian composer Sahba Aminikia's mournful new piece, "Threnody for Those who Remain," which chronicles his father's death, as well as the Iranians' protest against last summer's contested presidential election.

Aminikia, a music composition student at San Francisco Conservatory, was pleasantly shocked to receive his first major commission.  But the occasion was bittersweet.

"Exactly the day after I sent them a copy, [David Harrington] contacted me," said Aminikia.  "And this was exactly when my father had died in Iran, in a car accident.  I went to Iran, and for three months, I recorded sounds in every place I went, not necessarily complex or advanced places, but anywhere, like the bazar  or the street, or if I heard things on the radio which sounded funny to me, I recorded all of these."

David Harrington, Kronos' founder and musical director, says he is always looking for things the audience probably has not heard before.

"I am always looking for the next piece, the next wonderful experience," said Harrington.  "I want people who write for Kronos to turn the page, to make a work that is new to them, new to us, new to the rest of the world.  And for me, Sahba [Aminikia] could do that."

During the past 35 years, Kronos has commissioned more than 600 new pieces, from such well-known composers as Philip Glass and Terry Riley, but also from many new composers, discovered by the ensemble.

"I like to be the first one to hear a piece of music," noted Harrington.  "I like the challenge, and it's nerve-racking. You wonder can I get through it, can we get through it?  What's it going to be?  I won't say I'm addicted to this, but maybe it is an addiction.  You know, there is a high that happens."

In its new concert, Kronos presents a restaging of George Crumb's iconic "Black Angels," an essential piece in the ensemble's history, returning after 35 years.

"I don't think there would be a new quartet by Sahba [Aminikia] if there wasn't 'Black Angels.'  When I first heard it in 1973 it was alarming, it was scary. I had been searching for something for a long time, and I didn't know if it even existed," added Harrington.

Kronos performs these pieces during its world tour starting in Basel, Switzerland, on November 10, followed by stops in Poland, Germany, France, Portugal and Canada throughout this winter.

NEW: Follow our Middle East-related stories on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

 

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid