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Kronos Quartet Residency Begins At Cornish College of the Arts

Seattle, WA -- Cornish College of the Arts students from all departments will have an opportunity to interact with the famed Kronos Quartet when they arrive on campus later this month. Discussions and demonstrations will occur in both the visual arts and performing arts departments. While many such residencies focus on one particular discipline, such as music, this residency was structured so the entire Cornish community would have a chance to interact with the artists and be inspired, said Dr. Nancy J. Uscher, President. “We plan to have this be the beginning of a five-year residency program built along these lines.”

The Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—began their fearless exploration and re-imagining of the string quartet experience in 1970s Seattle. Since then, 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 800 works and arrangements for string quartet.

Cornish became a legacy partner of Kronos Quartet/Kronos Performing Arts Association’s program, Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, in 2015. With a lead partner, Carnegie Hall, Kronos’ Fifty for the Future commissions 10 new works per year devoted to the most recent approaches to the string quartet and suitable for training of students and emerging professionals. The works are being commissioned from an eclectic group of composers, and the collection will represent the truly globe-spanning state of the art of the string quartet in the 21st century. By the end of the program, 50 new works will have been created.

Cornish College was one of the first institutions of higher education to take advantage of this exciting new initiative and is a legacy partner of the program. “We were delighted to be a partner in Kronos’ Fifty for the Future,” said Uscher. “Creating new music and new ways of teaching music is very much a part of Cornish's pioneering spirit and legacy.” In addition, Uscher wanted to create a residency that moved outside of the music classrooms and involved students from the visual arts as well as the performing arts.

On February 20, students will have an opportunity to attend a dress rehearsal of "Beyond Zero" at the Moore Theater. This new work matches archival film with a newly commissioned music to commemorate the start of World War I. By watching the dress rehearsal, the students will learn how Kronos prepares for an mixed media concert.

On February 22 and 24, members of Kronos will work with students in the visual arts at the College’s South Lake Union campus as well as lead master classes with individual student composers in Cornish’s Kerry Hall on Capitol Hill. Lunchtime gatherings will allow students from all departments to meet and discuss careers in the arts with members of Kronos.  A special evening discussion of composing for film will take place on February 24 on campus and be open to the public. This discussion will be moderated by Lyall Bush, Cornish’s program leader for Film+Media.

According to Kronos’s  artistic director Harrington, the quartet’s relationship with Cornish goes back to their very first year. They performed at Cornish College of the Arts in 1973 and they have returned to campus many times since. Most recently, Kronos received honorary doctorates from Cornish in 2012 and headlined the 2013 Cornish gala.

More on "Beyond Zero" and Kronos Quartet

The Kronos Quartet performs “Beyond Zero” at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington, on February 20, 8:00 pm. Tickets are $20 to $75 and available online at STGPresents.org.

“Beyond Zero” is a recently commissioned work created to commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of World War I. Longtime Kronos collaborator, Aleksandra Vrebalov, a Serbian composer and native of the former Yugoslovia (the site of WWI’s outbreak), brings new music composed specifically for the piece. Drawing on seldom-seen WWI footage from the Library of Congress, a film by Bill Morrison will be integrated in the “Beyond Zero” performance. This deeply moving works offers reflection and solace in the wake of one of modern history’s most profound events.

About Cornish College of the Arts

Established in 1914, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in the performing and visual arts, a Bachelor of Music, and a postgraduate Artist Diploma in Early Music as well as multiple public programs and extension courses to empower artists as citizens and innovators.

The college’s founder Nellie Cornish, and the many teaching artists who have followed her, believed in education through exposure to all the arts. This approach continues to inform the College’s curriculum and community involvement today.

Cornish is accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

The Kronos Quartet residency at Cornish College of the Arts is made possible through the generous support of The Boeing Company.