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50 For The Future 50 For The Future

KRONOS presents a free library of fifty contemporary works designed to guide string quartets in developing and honing the skills required for the performance of 21st-century repertoire.

Hussain Cover Art

Pallavi

Zakir Hussain

India / USA

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’Pallavi’ is the ancient Carnatic word for composition. Each raga would have at least 100 traditional compositions of this type. The piece as written follows the prescribed format of the ancient Pallavi in which there is first Pallavi, then Anu Pallavi followed by Charnam. In this piece, the departure from the system is that, unlike the traditional Pallavi based in one raga, I have used 4 different ragas and tried to find a way to give each instrument its own personality with a raga assigned just for it. By doing so I hoped to address the Western system which employs counterpoint and harmony, through the multi-tonal play of the 4 ragas working in tandem in certain passages. There is also interplay between different rhythm cycles (Tala) using 4, 6, 9, and 16 beats, each assigned to an instrument in the quartet."

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Darkness Is Not Well Lit

Nicole Lizée

Canada

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Darkness Is Not Well Lit is a sonic imagining of film noir for string quartet as seen—and heard—from the vantage point of an electric fan. Orson Welles’ and John Huston’s film noir calls to mind specific settings, shot in black and white, and playing tricks of light only possible in that medium: the sweltering heat, smoke, fog, sculpted shadows, low-key lighting, a telephone and manual typewriter sitting on an imposing oak desk, a single swinging sputtering light bulb, venetian blinds, and whirring fans."

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Play

Merlijn Twaalfhoven

Netherlands

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In the classical music of today, the separation of performer and listener is very strict and clear. We might forget how for centuries (and still today, outside the conventional concert halls), music was the most effective way to connect, to create together, to participate, to play. Both in religious service as in celebrations or ritual, music establishes a sense of unity. Today, our society is fragmented and divided. Can musicians play a role to create new forms of connectedness and community? In this composition, I invite all people that are present to contribute and ... to play."

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Sunny Yang - General
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When I see young musicians exploring this repertoire, I feel incredibly optimistic about the future. Because the composer selection is so global, the repertoire draws from all different kinds of backgrounds, which really comes through in the presentation of their pieces. It allows you and, in a way, challenges you to broaden your perspective on what music is, what diversity is, and what kind of world we live in."

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Sunny Yang

Cellist, Kronos Quartet

Featured Technique

Raven Chacon's The Journey of the Horizontal People

Learn how to accent rests, double pizzicato, perform seagull harmonics, and more in Kronos' instructional video for Raven Chacon's piece, The Journey of the Horizontal People.

David Harrington - What Would Happen?
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What would happen if we could, through our years of working with hundreds of composers from many places, make a body of incredibly interesting, fun music that could serve the next generation as a launching pad to a world of discovery?”

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David Harrington

Artistic Director, Kronos Quartet