On Wednesday 11 May 2016, the Kronos Quartet spent the day at Trinity Laban. They spoke with composers, coached chamber music groups, and in the evening were presented with an Honorary Fellowship by Lord Lipsey, Chairman of Trinity Laban.
The presentation was followed by a special event, in which the quartet were interviewed by Head of Composition Dominic Murcott, and enjoyed performances by Trinity Laban students, staff and alumni.
David Harrington, Artistic Director, violinist and founding member of the quartet, said:
“The ceremony that was organized and produced by the faculty and students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance was a thrilling career highlight for us. We were all delightfully surprised, entertained and moved by the evening’s program, which included everything Kronos strives for as musicians. That this magical, perfect celebration followed the beautiful afternoon that we shared with the inspiring music students made it all the more special.”
Since they formed in 1973, the Kronos Quartet has remained committed to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. They have commissioned more than 850 new works and arrangements, and created the Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA), a non-profit organisation based in San Francisco that manages the quartet’s education programs and business.
The members of the Kronos Quartet – David Harrington, John Sherba, Hank Dutt and Sunny Yang – spent a day at Trinity Laban, coaching student chamber music groups and talking with student composers.
In the evening, they were presented with their Honorary Fellowship by Lord Lipsey, Chairman of Trinity Laban. The presentation formed part of a special celebratory event in the Laban Theatre, attended by 200 staff and students. Trinity Laban staff and students re-imagined pieces of music chosen by the Kronos Quartet’s Artistic Director, David Harrington:
- Terry Riley’s In C was refashioned as a dance
- Ken Benshoof’s Traveling Music was re-worked for brass quintet and dancers
- The Beatles’ Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite was arranged for vocal quartet
- Armenian folk song Groung was re-interpreted by a jazz combo
Between these performances, Dominic Murcott – Head of Composition at Trinity Laban – interviewed the quartet about their musical loves and experiences.
Dr Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music at Trinity Laban, read the citation, which included the following tribute:
“The Kronos Quartet’s significance extends far beyond the realms of classical chamber music, and for us at Trinity Laban, they provide an exceptional model of the vision, mission and values we aspire to exemplify. Their commitment to making a contribution to society – striving through music to instil inspire those who hear it to greater things – is truly inspirational.
It is no exaggeration to say that thanks to their work, our conception of what a string quartet can be has changed radically, and for the better. It is for these reasons that Trinity Laban wishes today to honour Kronos Quartet with this Honorary Fellowship.”
Janet Cowperthwaite, Managing Director of the Kronos Performing Arts Association, said:
“The members of the quartet and the staff of KPAA are deeply honoured by this recognition from such a prestigious institution. We are grateful for the warm welcome we have received from Trinity Laban, which shares so many of the tenants of our organization’s mission, including creativity, exploration, collaboration, encouragement, and mentoring.”
You can watch a short film about their visit at www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/kronos.