Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Sound Advice: In an Exclusive Interview with Kronos Quartet's Hank Dutt, the Violist Links the Personal to the Professional

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Sound Advice: In an Exclusive Interview with Kronos Quartet's Hank Dutt, the Violist Links the Personal to the Professional

Article excerpt

If two's company and three's a crowd, is four pandemonium? Not if you ask the Kronos Quartet. Music boasts no professional relationships more intimate than those between the members of this San Francisco-based string ensemble. And this fall Kronos celebrates its 25th anniversary, having survived and prospered with the same personnel for the past 20 years. In that time the organization has performed or commissioned more than 400 scores, made more than 30 records, receives six or seven unsolicited scores a week and has revolutionized the art and manner of string-quartet playing, reaching out to an international audience hungry for contemporary music with a twist. Kronos performs nothing but works of this century and modern arrangements of older material, a decision made decades ago by founding artistic director David Harrington in blissful agreement with second violin John Sherba, cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, and violist Hank Dutt. This is the quartet that crossed over before almost anyone else in classical music even considered doing so. Their mod clothing and dramatic lighting have been admired but never really emulated.

Kronos operates on a $1.6-million budget, em ploys an administrative staff of six, and tours globally up to seven months a year. The quartet will celebrate its anniversary with a three-concert series this fall at Brooklyn Academy of Music, a four-concert set in San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater (where vocalist Diamanda Galas will guest), and single dates throughout the country. In addition, on October 21 Nonesuch will release a ten-CD Kronos set consisting of reissues, rerecordings, and new pieces.

"We found," recalls Dutt, "that when we split our repertory between the romantics and the modems, our audiences were sharply divided. …

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