For more than 30 years, San Francisco's Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola) and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential ensembles of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings of extraordinary breadth and commissioning more than 600 new works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos' work has also garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and "Musicians of the Year" (2003) from Musical America.
Kronos' adventurous, eclectic repertoire encompasses works by 20th-century masters (Bartók, Shostakovich, Webern), contemporary composers (Aleksandra Vrebalov, John Adams, Alfred Schnittke), jazz legends (Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk), and artists from even farther afield (rock guitar hero Jimi Hendrix, Azeri vocalist Alim Qasimov, and avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn). Integral to Kronos' work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world's foremost composers, including Americans Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich; Azerbaijan's Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; Poland's Henryk Górecki, and Argentina's Osvaldo Golijov. Additional collaborators from around the world have included Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; the legendary Bollywood "playback singer" Asha Bhosle; the renowned American soprano Dawn Upshaw; Mexican rockers Café Tacuba; the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks; and Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq.
The Quartet spends five months of each year on tour, appearing in the world's most prestigious concert halls, clubs, and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific on CD, with a discography on Nonesuch Records including Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers that simultaneously topped Billboard’s Classical and World Music lists; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy–nominated celebration of Mexican culture; and the 2003 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite.
Bryce Dessner (US) is a composer/guitarist based in New York City, best known as the guitarist for the acclaimed rock band, The National. Their albums Alligator (2005) and Boxer (2007) were named albums of the decade in publications throughout the world. Their most recent release, High Violet (2010), debuted at #3 on the US Billboard chart and at #4 on the world album charts. In 2010, The National won album of the year at London's prestigious Q Awards.
Dessner has also received widespread acclaim as a new music composer and guitarist. His recent commissions include ongoing collaborations with the Kronos Quartet and The Long Count, a song cycle for the 2009 BAM Next Wave Festival. In 2011-12 Bryce will present new work for the Kronos Quartet, the American Composer's Orchestra, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Bang on a Can All-stars, Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the Calder String Quartet.
As a guitarist, Bryce has performed and/or recorded with some of the world's most creative musicians including songwriters Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver and Antony Hegarty; Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo; composers Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly and Michael Gordon; and visual artist Matthew Ritchie.
Bryce is the founder and artistic director of the Music Now Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, now in its sixth season.