Seven pieces from the Kronos Quartet’s Fifty for the Future project are on the ensemble’s April 21 program presented at the Lensic Performing Arts Center by Performance Santa Fe.
Fifty for the Future, a commissioning project started in 2015 that will eventually consist of 50 new works presented over a five year period of time, reflects a wide variety of string quartet music written by living composers. Many of the works utilize unusual performance techniques and explore new soundscapes.
The Santa Fe program contains works by composers from around the world including Tanya Tagaq, Islam Chipsy, Raven Chacon and Yevgeniy Sharlat.
“I’ve been reinvigorated by the project since I’m listening to more new music than ever before,” explains Kronos Quartet’s artistic director and violinist David Harrington.
“We’ve worked with a number of the composers who are part of this project in the past but quite a few haven’t written for us before,” Harrington continues. “Canadian throat singer Tanya Tagaq has been a guest performer with us, but “Sivunittinni” is the first piece of hers that we’ve ever performed.”
After Kronos Quartet members listened to music by Egyptian composer Islam Chipsy, they became determined to find him. “We didn’t know how to reach him,” says Harrington, who programed one of his pieces in the Santa Fe concert. “Once we did, we needed help in talking with him since English is sort of his fourth language.”
Conversations with composers were open-ended, although quartet members indicated that they preferred shorter pieces rather than very long ones to help make works easy to program and accessible to accomplished students and emerging professionals.
“We’ve been surprised by the works that have been written for the project,” Harrington adds. “For example, Pencil sketch by Yevgeniy Sharlat, which is on the Santa Fe program, is absolutely amazing and one of the most challenging pieces that the Kronos Quartet has ever played.”