Kronos Quartet to curate Glasgow mini-festival in May 2011
Highlights include Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Jon Rose and Matmos
Not every new music quartet can count Nine Inch Nails and Nelly Furtado amongst their list of collaborators, nor put live performances with David Bowie and Allen Ginsberg under their achingly-creative belt. The Kronos Quartet however, are far from your average group, and artistic director and violinist David Harrington has worked hard since their conception in 1973 to keep the ensemble operating on the forefront the of the global contemporary music scene, with a strict diet of forward-thinking commissions and dedicated adventurousness. From 12-15 May 2011, under the lofty roof of Glasgow's Concert Halls, Kronos Quartet will host a mini festival of contemporary, minimalist and world music, bringing in an international line-up of collaborators chosen by the group themselves.
Launching the event is an exclusive experimental performance integrating the famously long-lasting echoes of Hamilton Mausoleum into a series of short acoustically deluxe sets. Thereafter the Royal Concert Hall, City Halls and Old Fruitmarket will house various explorations in musical traditions spanning across the globe, from Innuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq (who’s collaborated with Bjork) and Azerbaijani musician Alim Qasimov through to Finnish kantele player Ritva Koistinen, meandering towards a final collaborative performance of Terry Riley’s The Cusp of Magic, featuring pipa player Wu Man. And, lest we forget our very own home-grown talents, the quartet will also play alongside Scottish folk duo Chris Stout and Catriona McKay and the National Youth Choir of Scotland.
But the ensemble doesn’t stop there. The quartet’s sonic expedition will take us through Jon Rose’s Music From 4 Fences, which, is literally performed on four huge, specially constructed barbed wire fences. Further programme highlights include pieces by composers Terry Riley and Steve Reich, the godfathers of Minimalism. One such piece is the potentially nerve-wracking WTC 9/11, a new piece written by Reich especially for the group. As one would expect from the composer of holocaust-themed piece Different Trains, WTC 9/11 pulls no punches. The highly fraught work combines a trio of string quartets (two pre-recorded, one live) with the pre-recorded voices of New York City fire-fighters, survivors of the 9/11 attacks and even voices of NORAD air traffic controllers.
Another highlight is a late night appearance from electronic sound artistes Matmos. The Baltimore-based duo have worked closely with artists such as Bjork (again) and have been known to incorporate such far-flung noises as amplified crayfish nerve tissue and the sound of plastic surgery into their often glitchy, techno-driven ambient assemblages.