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Cornish to Honor Kronos Quartet, Johnson at 2013 Commencement

Cornish to Honor Kronos Quartet, Johnson at 2013 Commencement

: Photo by Images courtesy of the artists..

Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Viginia Johnson and members of the Kronos Quartet will be honored by Cornish at 2013 Commencement

They are artists who have helped shape the work of the students and faculty of Cornish College of the Arts and who continue to inspire them: Virginia Johnson, dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Dance Theatre of Harlem and the members of the world-famous Kronos Quartet – David Harrington, John Sherba, Hank Dutt and Jeffrey Zeigler. President Nancy J. Uscher has announced that Cornish College of the Arts will honor these renowned artists with honorary degrees at this year’s commencement.

Viginia Johnson will also deliver the commencement address.

President Uscher is clear why these artists have been singled out for honor. “Dance Theatre of Harlem is a cornerstone in contemporary dance and Virginia Johnson inspired our students when she led a master class last fall,” she says. “The Kronos Quartet, celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, demonstrates a fearless approach to their art that complements our equally adventurous graduates. I look forward to welcoming them all to Seattle.”

President Uscher will confer these degrees at the Cornish Commencement Ceremony at 4 pm on May 12, at Benaroya Hall along with those of graduating seniors. More than 180 students will receive bachelor of music or bachelor of fine arts degrees in art, dance, design, performance production or theater in this year’s ceremony.

Virginia Johnson stepped into the role of artistic director of Dance Theatre of Harlem in January 2010. She was a founding member and principal dancer with the company, where she danced for 28 years. She is the former editor-in-chief of Pointe magazine. Born in Washington, D.C., Johnson graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet. She briefly attended the School of the Arts at New York University where she was a University Scholar before joining DTH in 1969. During her long association with that company, she performed most of the repertoire, including principal roles in Concerto Barocco, Allegro Brillante, Agon, and many other ballets. Her choreographic credits include the television film, Ancient Voices of Children, which she choreographed and danced, and an early solo concert which she choreographed and produced. Later choreographic works include ballets created for Goucher College, Dancers Respond to AIDS, the Second Annual Harlem Festival of the Arts, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center and Marymount Manhattan College, where she was also an adjunct professor. The latter two projects were an outgrowth of Dancers Making Dances, a collaborative choreographic project with former DTH colleagues Judy Tyrus and Melanie Person.

They are the Kronos Quartet: David Harrington and John Sherba on violin, Hank Dutt on viola and Jeffrey Zeigler on cello. For nearly 40 years, this seminal quartet 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 groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world’s most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioning more than 750 works and arrangements for string quartet. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipient 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.

IMAGE: composite: Kronos Quartet’s David Harrington, Hank Dutt, Jeffrey Zeigler and John Sherba, with Virginia Johnson, Dance Theatre of Harlem.


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