San Francisco Performances Presents PIVOT: New Adventures in the Performing Arts

Kronos Quartet
with special guest Jherek Bischoff


David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Sunny Yang, cello

Special Guest
Jherek Bischoff

Friday, March 11, 2016
8:30 & 10:30pm
Strand Theater | Rueff Room
$25 General Admission

“…the Kronos Quartet has broken the boundaries of what string quartets do, commissioning hundreds of new works that have brought jazz, tango, experimental and world music into the genre.”

—The New Yorker

Kronos Quartet: Live on Q2 in The Greene Space

Jherek Bischoff: Live on KEXP Seattle


BRYCE DESSNER: Aheym (Homeward) *
GEESHIE WILEY (arr. Jacob Garchik): Last Kind Words
LAURIE ANDERSON (arr. Jacob Garchik): Flow +
OMAR SOULEYMAN (arr. Jacob Garchik): La Sidounak Sayyada
(I’ll Prevent the Hunters from Hunting You) +
N. RAJAM (arr. Reena Esmail): Dadra in Raga Bhairavi +
JHEREK BISCHOFF: A Semiperfect Number * [San Francisco Premiere]
KONONO NO 1 (arr. Jherek Bischoff): Kule Kule + [San Francisco Premiere]
JHEREK BISCHOFF: Flying Rivers * [World Premiere]

(arr. Jacob Garchik): Baba O’Riley +

* Written for Kronos
+ Arranged for Kronos

About This Performance

San Francisco’s own pioneering foursome continues its tra­dition of musical experimentation and innovation, their keen ear for the most intriguing musical voices always on high alert. The quartet shares the stage with Los Angeles-based “pop polymath” com­poser/performer Jherek Bischoff. Equal parts composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumental performer Bischoff has toured and recorded with several DIY indie rock bands and blazed an unconventional path collaborating with David Byrne, People Get Ready, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Parenthetical Girls and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

PIVOT: New Adventures in the Performing Arts is supported by The Wallace Foundation.

Artist Biography

Los Angeles based Jherek Bischoff is a composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumental performer. Hailed as a “phenom” (The New Yorker) and “the missing link between the sombre undertones of Ennio Morricone and the unpredictability of John Cale” (NME), Jherek has created an impressive body of work. After spending most of the 00’s touring and recording in DIY indie rock and experimental groups Jherek found himself creating orchestral music almost accidentally.

Utilizing his DIY background, Jherek wrote his critically-acclaimed 2012 orchestral pop album Composed on a ukulele, recording one instrument at a time with just one microphone and a laptop, layering each individual track to synthesize the sound of an orchestra. Composed features a host of impressive cameos including David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, Nels Cline (Wilco) and Greg Saunier (Deerhoof). NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross devoted a half-hour interview to discussing the album, Jherek’s musical background and his unique childhood being raised on a sailboat.

In the last few years, Jherek has collaborated with an ever-growing list of notable creators including Neil Gaiman, Bang on a Can, Cibo Matto, Zola Jesus, Amanda Palmer, Meow Meow, Missy Higgins, and has performed at venues and festivals around the globe including Carnegie Hall, BAM, Ecstatic Music Festival, Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center/Liquid Music, Seattle’s Moore Theater, Adelaide Festival, and Tasmania’s MONA FOMA. As his focus has turned more toward his work as a composer, Jherek has seen commissions from Kronos Quartet, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, St Ann’s Warehouse, and his work has been performed by the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Adelaide Art Orchestra, Wordless Music Orchestra and yMusic.

Ever the prolific creator, Jherek continues to broaden his musical profile with the addition of his first musical theater score Johnny Breitwieser for Vienna’s Schauspielhaus in 2014, as well as his work on television scores for Starz’s Blunt Talk and Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp in 2015. The momentum continues into 2016, with the release of Jherek’s highly anticipated follow-up album Cistern, an ambient orchestral album which was recorded with a live orchestra in a church in Hudson, New York.

For more than 40 years, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world’s most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 850 works and arrangements for string quartet. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians. The group’s numerous awards also include a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and “Musicians of the Year” (2003) from Musical America.

Kronos’ adventurous approach dates back to the ensemble’s origins. In 1973, David Harrington was inspired to form Kronos after hearing George Crumb’s Black Angels, a highly unorthodox, Vietnam War–inspired work featuring bowed water glasses, spoken word passages, and electronic effects. Kronos then began building a compellingly diverse repertoire for string quartet, performing and recording works by 20th-century masters (Bartók, Webern, Schnittke), contemporary composers (Sophia Gubaidulina, Bryce Dessner, Aleksandra Vrebalov), jazz legends (Ornette Coleman, Maria Schneider, Thelonious Monk), rock artists (guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, Brazilian electronica artist Amon Tobin, and Icelandic indie-rock group Sigur Rós), and artists who truly defy genre (performance artist Laurie Anderson, composer/sound sculptor/inventor Trimpin, and singer-songwriter/poet Patti Smith).

Integral to Kronos’ work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world’s foremost composers. One of the quartet’s most frequent composer-collaborators is “Father of Minimalism” Terry Riley, whose work with Kronos includes Salome Dances for Peace (1985–86); Sun Rings (2002), a multimedia, NASA-commissioned ode to the earth and its people, featuring celestial sounds and images from space; and The Serquent Risadome, premiered during Kronos’ 40th Anniversary Celebration at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Kronos commissioned and recorded the three string quartets of Polish composer Henryk Górecki, with whom the group worked for more than 25 years. The quartet has also collaborated extensively with composers such as Philip Glass, recording a CD of his string quartets in 1995 and premiering String Quartet No. 6 in 2013, among other projects; Azerbaijan’s Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, whose works are featured on the full-length 2005 release Mugam Sayagi; Steve Reich, from Kronos’ performance of the Grammy-winning composition Different Trains (1989) to the September 11–themed WTC 9/11 (2011); and many more.

In addition to composers, Kronos counts numerous performers from around the world among its collaborators, including the Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; Azeri master vocalist Alim Qasimov; legendary Bollywood “playback singer” Asha Bhosle, featured on Kronos’ 2005 Grammy-nominated CD You’ve Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman’s Bollywood; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq; indie rock band The National; Mexican rockers Café Tacvba; sound artist and instrument builder Walter Kitundu; and the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks. Kronos has performed live with the likes of Paul McCartney, Allen Ginsberg, Jarvis Cocker, Zakir Hussain, Modern Jazz Quartet, Noam Chomsky, Rokia Traoré, Tom Waits, Rhiannon Giddens, Howard Zinn, Betty Carter, and David Bowie, and has appeared on recordings by artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Dan Zanes, Glenn Kotche, Dave Matthews, Nelly Furtado, Joan Armatrading, and Don Walser. In dance, the famed choreographers Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Eiko & Koma, and Paul Lightfoot and Sol León (Nederlands Dans Theater) have created pieces with Kronos’ music.

In addition to its role as a performing and recording ensemble, the quartet is committed to mentoring emerging performers and composers and has led workshops, master classes, and other education programs via the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the California State Summer School for the Arts, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, and other institutions in the U.S. and overseas. Kronos has recently undertaken extended educational residencies at UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances, The Clarice at the University of Maryland, and with the Kaufman Music Center’s Face the Music.

With a staff of 11 based in San Francisco, the non-profit Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours and local performances, education programs, and more. KPAA’s Kronos: Under 30 Project, a unique commissioning and residency program for composers under age 30, has now added five new works to the Kronos repertoire. KRONOS PRESENTS is a new presenting program showcasing Kronos’ commissioned works, artistic projects and far-ranging musical collaborations through an annual festival, education and community activities, and other events in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

In 2015 KPAA launched a new commissioning and education initiative—Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire. With Carnegie Hall as a lead partner, KPAA is commissioning 50 new works—10 per year for five years—devoted to contemporary approaches to the quartet and designed expressly for the training of students and emerging professionals. The works will be created by an eclectic group of composers—25 women and 25 men. The quartet will premiere each piece and create companion materials, including scores and parts, recordings, videos, performance notes, and composer interviews, that will be distributed online for free. Kronos’ Fifty for the Future will present quartet music as a living art form, and provide young musicians with both an indispensable library of learning and a blueprint for their own future collaborations with composers. Kronos, Carnegie Hall, and an adventurous list of project partners that includes presenters, academic institutions, foundations and individuals, have joined forces to support this exciting new commissioning, performance, education, and legacy project of unprecedented scope and potential impact.


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