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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid