Kronos Quartet’s mission, founder David Harrington once said, was to be “vital, and energetic, and alive, and cool, and not afraid to kick ass, and be absolutely beautiful and ugly if it has to be.”
While this may not have been Joseph Haydn’s intent when he began composing string quartet pieces back in the 18th century, it’s worked well for a group who emerged from the semi-underground “new music” scene of the 1970s.
Kronos has since collaborated with minimalist composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass, Bollywood singer Asha Bhosle, electronic musician Amon Tobin, Texas yodeler Don Walser, and Beatles co-founder Paul McCartney.
They’ve also covered Television’s “Marquee Moon” and Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow, Tears and Blood,” created educational programs for young musicians, picked up a couple of Grammy Awards, and had more than 900 works written for them. Eclectic as ever, the quartet’s Denver performance will include pieces inspired by Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” Mahalia Jackson’s “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” and, of course, the Everly Brothers’ version of “House of the Rising Sun.”