Kronos Presents Kronos Festival May 2019

Kronos Presents Kronos Festival May 2019

The San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet/Kronos Performing Arts Association(KPAA) is pleased to present Kronos Festival 2019, Kronos' fifth annual, three-day music festival, at SFJAZZ Center on May 30-June 1. Kronos Festival 2019 will highlight the voices of singers, storytellers, and activists over three evening concerts, a Saturday morning family concert and Kronos Labs, free public events that are new this year. Kronos has long collaborated with vocal artists, including in its recent Grammy Award­-winning album Landfall (Nonesuch Records) with Laurie Anderson and its new album Placeless (Kirkelig Kulturverksted) with Iranian singers Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat.

During the festival, a wide range of artists will join Kronos on stage. Experimental duo CocoRosie, Malian griot singer Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté (of Trio Da Kali), and the San Francisco Girls Chorus are all returning from last year's festival. In addition, folk musicians Sam Amidon and Lee Knight, composer and guitarist Jherek Bischoff, writer Rebecca Solnit, and filmmaker Sam Green will perform. Highlighting Kronos' legacy of mentorship, students from the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts once again take center stage during the festival. Kronos is honored that Valérie Sainte-Agathe, artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and frequent Kronos collaborator, will be Kronos Festival 2019's Artist-in-Residence. Additional guests will be announced.

Each festival presents Kronos with an opportunity to unveil new work. The ensemble will debut the first part of a project, commissioned by the FreshGrass Foundation, that will commemorate the life and legacy of folk icon and activist Pete Seeger, who would have turned 100 years old this May. Kronos will also perform the Bay Area premiere of Glorious Mahalia, a work by Chicago-based composer Stacy Garrop that celebrates legendary singer Mahalia Jackson through the words and spirit of oral historian and activist Studs Terkel.

Kronos also premieres two pieces written for 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire. One is by Stanford University composer Mark Applebaum, whose works frequently consist of both gestural movements and sound, and another by Diabaté, whose work is inspired by the tegere tulon-a tradition of handclapping songs and dances created spontaneously by girls in country villages of southern Mali. Kronos' 50 for the Futureis a string quartet commissioning, performance, education and legacy project that is creating a library of 50 works-composed by 25 women and 25 men-designed to guide young amateur and early-career professional string quartets in developing and honing the skills required for the performance of 21st-century repertoire. During Kronos Festival 2019, scores and parts, recordings, and other pedagogical materials for five new works will be made publicly available on Kronos' website, bringing the total number of available works to 30.

This year, the festival also debuts Kronos Labs, an admission-free series, on Saturday afternoon. "Big Five of Bayview" is a free talk and performance led by Sainte-Agathe that will highlight the legacy of the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood activists and include a protest music sing-along featuring music popularized by Pete Seeger. "Pete Seeger: 'The World that Music Lives In'" is a free talk by American Folklife Center, Library of Congress curator Todd Harvey that will illustrate Seeger's career and efforts for peace and social justice.

Additional program highlights include Solnit and others reading selected testimonies as part of the national Voices of a People's History project, inspired by the scholarship of historian Howard Zinn on Thursday night; Green enlisting Kronos in Por Vida!, a live documentary short about San Francisco's legacy business Casa Sanchez on Friday night; and ethnomusicologist Dr. Lucy Durán giving a pre-show talk about the tegere tulonon Saturday night.

"I feel so honored to be the Kronos Festival Artist-in-Residence this year," says Sainte-Agathe. "It is, for me, a wonderful opportunity to join artistic forces and give hope and energy for the future to our community. Music is a powerful tool. I am grateful to be able to keep fighting together to advocate for more diversity and to move forward without ignoring the past. I am thrilled to have the San Francisco Girls Chorus be part of this adventure. Making sure women's voices are heard, believed and respected, even at a very young age, is such a priority."

"Kronos Festival 2019 will celebrate music, activism, stunning voices, San Francisco, and the promise of youth," says David Harrington, Kronos' artistic director, founder and violinst. "You will hear Mahalia Jackson, Studs Terkel, Rebecca Solnit, Sam Amidon, Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, CocoRosie and the San Francisco Girls Chorus with Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Kronos Festival 2019 Artist-in-Residence. Filmmaker Sam Green will tell a Mission District story. Long time Kronos collaborator Jacob Garchik has a new piece celebrating the 100th year of singer, banjoist and all-around activist force in American culture Pete Seeger. The penetrating words of Howard Zinn will unite music with energized action, and young musicians from Asawa SOTA will inspire hope. Kronos Festival 2019 charts new directions for the work of Kronos. It will be festive, pointed, and fun."


Thursday, May 30, 7:30pm: Opening Night

Kronos Quartet with Valérie Sainte-Agathe and guests Rebecca Solnit, San Francisco Girls Chorus and others, as well as a special appearance by the Asawa SOTA Dragon String Quartet

Program to include:

Rhiannon Giddens (arr. Jacob Garchik) / At the Purchaser's Option with variations *

Performed by Dragon String Quartet (Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts)

Mark Applebaum / Flashlight * World premiere

Voices of a People's History

with Rebecca Solnit and other special guests

Michael Gordon / Exalted **

with San Francisco Girls Chorus, conducted by Valérie Sainte-Agathe

Stacy Garrop / Glorious Mahalia ** Bay Area Premiere

featuring the recorded voices of Mahalia Jackson and Studs Terkel

Jlin (arr. Jacob Garchik) / Little Black Book *

Friday, May 31, 7:30pm: Day 2

Kronos Quartet with Valérie Sainte-Agathe and guests CocoRosie, Jherek Bischoff, Sam Green and San Francisco Girls Chorus, as well as a special appearance by the Asawa SOTA Dragon Saxophone Quintet

Program to include:

Fodé Lassana Diabaté (arr. Jacob Garchik) / Sunjata's Time: V. Bara kala ta *

Performed by Dragon Saxophone Quintet (Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts)

Kronos Quartet and CocoRosie

featuring the San Francisco Girls Chorus

Sam Green / Por Vida!

Film by Sam Green & music by Todd Griffin

with live narration by Sam Green

Kronos Quartet and Jherek Bischoff

A Semiperfect Number **

Flying Rivers **

Stranger **

Konono Nº1 (arr. Jherek Bischoff) / Kule Kule +

with Jherek Bischoff, bass guitar

Saturday, June 1, 11:00am: Family Concert - Around the World with Kronos

An hour-long, family-friendly concert featuring a mix of lively and eclectic music performed by Kronos Quartet with Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, Lee Knight and others

Saturday, June 1, 2:00pm: Kronos Lab - Big Five of Bayview

Free talk and performance led by artist-in-residence Valérie Sainte-Agathe and featuring Christopher Street, Lee Knight and others

Saturday, June 1, 5:00pm: Kronos Lab - Pete Seeger: "The World that Music Lives In"

Free talk by Todd Harvey (American Folklife Center, Library of Congress)

Saturday, June 1, 7:30pm: Day 3

Kronos Quartet with Valérie Sainte-Agathe and guests Sam Amidon, Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, Lee Knight, San Francisco Girls Chorus and others, as well as a special pre-show talk by Dr. Lucy Durán

Program to include:

Kronos Quartet and Sam Amidon

Traditional (arr. Nico Muhly) / Oh Where +

Traditional (arr. Nico Muhly) / I See the Sign +

with Sam Amidon, voice

Kronos and Friends Celebrate Pete Seeger at 100

Songs with Sam Amidon, Lee Knight, Valérie Sainte-Agathe and others

Jacob Garchik / NEW WORK** World premiere

Aleksander Ko?ciów / Hílathi *

with San Francisco Girls Chorus, conducted by Valérie Sainte-Agathe

Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté (arr. Jacob Garchik) / Tegere Tulon * World premiere

with Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, voice, and San Francisco Girls Chorus,
conducted by Valérie Sainte-Agathe

Additional programming to be announced. Program subject to change.

* Composed for 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire/ ** Written for Kronos / + Arranged for Kronos

KRONOS FESTIVAL 2019 is produced by the Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) and is part of the San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit's KRONOS PRESENTS program. It is made possible by generous support from San Francisco Grants for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, and the Kronos Performing Arts Association Board of Directors.


For 45 years, San Francisco's Kronos Quartet - David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello) - has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the world's most celebrated and influential ensembles, performing thousands of concerts, releasing more than 60 recordings, collaborating with many of the world's most accomplished composers and performers and commissioning over 1,000 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos has received over 40 awards, including the prestigious Polar Music Prize, Avery Fisher Prizes and WOMEX Artist Award.

Integral to Kronos' work is a series of long-running collaborations with many of the world's foremost composers, including Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Philip Glass, Nicole Lizée, Vladimir Martynov, Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Aleksandra Vrebalov. Additional collaborators have included Wu Man, Tanya Tagaq, Mahsa Vahdat, Trevor Paglen, Sam Green, Van Dyke Parks, múm, Dawn Upshaw, Noam Chomsky, Tom Waits, Asha Bhosle, Zakir Hussain and Howard Zinn.

On tour for five months per year, Kronos appears in the world's most prestigious concert halls, clubs and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on recordings, including two Grammy-winning albums - Landfall with Laurie Anderson (2018) and Alban Berg's Lyric Suite featuring Dawn Upshaw (2003) - both released by longtime label Nonesuch Records. Kronos' other recent releases include Ladilikan (World Circuit Records) with Trio Da Kali, an ensemble of Malian griot musicians assembled by Aga Khan Music Initiative; Clouded Yellow (Cantaloupe Music) by Bang on the Can founding composer Michael Gordon; and Placeless (Kirkelig Kulturverksted) with Iranian vocalists Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat.

The nonprofit Kronos Performing Arts Association manages all aspects of Kronos' work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours and home season performances, education programs and the Kronos Festival. In 2015, Kronos launched 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, an education and legacy project that is commissioning-and distributing online for free-50 new works for string quartet composed by 25 women and 25 men.


Valérie Sainte-Agathe, artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC), has conducted SFGC since 2013, including in performances with renowned artists such as Jon Nakamatsu, Deborah Voigt, Laurie Rubin, Philip Glass, Aaron Jay Kernis, Gustavo Dudamel and Michael Tilson Thomas. A strong believer in musical collaborations, she has performed with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Magik*Magik Orchestra and Tenet Ensemble. In February 2018, she made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Philip Glass Ensemble, conducting with Michael Riesman in Glass' Music with Changing Parts. She also conducted The Photographer by Philip Glass in October 2017. In June 2016, she conducted the Chorus alongside The Knights Orchestra and Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the New York Philharmonic's NY PHIL BIENNIAL festival at Lincoln Center. She also collaborated with The Knights for the SHIFT A Festival of American Orchestras at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. After five years in the United States, her first recording as SFGC's Music Director, Final Answer, was released on Orange Mountain Music in February 2018. Between 2014 and 2016, she was assistant conductor for Lisa Bielawa's made-for-TV opera, Vireo.

Sainte-Agathe served as Music Director for the Young Singers program of the Montpellier National Symphony and Opera in France from 1998-2011. In this capacity, she trained young singers for opera and symphony concerts and productions. She participated in eight recordings with the Montpellier National Orchestra and The Radio France Festival. She is a recipient of Victoires de la Musique, and a two-time recipient of the Orphée d'Or award-for Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher and d'Indy's L'Étranger. Sainte-Agathe studied at the Montpellier Conservatory in piano performance. She received her bachelor's degree in conducting and a Master in Management from Université Paul Valery in Montpellier.

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