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This preview has been provided by Duke Performances.
Duke Performances is proud to host the world premiere of a new quartet, WTC 9/11, by Steve Reich—"our greatest living composer" (New York Times) who marks his 75th birthday this year—to be performed by the Kronos Quartet on Saturday, March 19, at 8 pm in Page Auditorium on Duke University's West Campus. The premiere is part of an all-Steve Reich program for the evening.
WTC 9/11integrates a live quartet performance, quartets on tape, and pre-recorded voices, showcasing Reich's trademark use of sound samples. The new quartet uses the events of September 11, 2001 as an artistic premise, and is meant to display, as the composer states, "the means of connecting one person to another – harmonically." Presented in three movements, the composition features a spiritual side, incorporating recordings of liturgical chanting from the Jewish tradition of Shmira, a religious practice to guard the soul of a recently deceased body from the time of death to burial.
This new quartet is just the third work Reich has written for string quartet, all three of which were written for David Harrington's Kronos Quartet. The March 19 performance features all three quartets: WTC 9/11, Triple Quartet, and Different Trains, as well as music from The Cave, Reich's 1993 opera.
From his early taped speech pieces It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966) to works seminal to the canon of Minimalism to the digital video opera Three Tales (2002), Steve Reich's path has embraced not only aspects of Western Classical music, but the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz. "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states The Guardian (London).
Credited by the New York Times as having re-invented the concept of the string quartet, Kronos Quartet has continually put itself at the forefront of contemporary classical and new music performance. Grammy-winners, the quartet has commissioned over 600 works by the finest composers working today, a list that includes Philip Glass, John Adams, Terry Riley, and countless others. Equally important, Kronos has effectively expanded the definition of music considered fine art to include composition from all over the globe and composed over nearly the whole scope of human history.
Steve Reich and Kronos Quartet will be artists-in-residence at Duke in the week leading up to the performance. Several free and open to the public artists-in-residence events featuring Reich and members of the quartet will be offered. Events include the following:
Thursday, March 17
Steve Reich & David Harrington In Conversation
The Pinhook (117 W. Main St.), 6:30 pm
Free & open to the public
Friday, March 18
Q&A with Steve Reich on his Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composition Double Sextet
Bone Hall, Biddle Music Building, Duke East Campus, 12 pm
Free & open to the public
View a full and up-to-date schedule of residency activities at dukeperformances.duke.edu/series/inventors/kronoshttp://dukeperformances.duke.edu/series/inventors/kronos.
This historic event is made possible by Duke Performances ongoing relationship with Kronos Quartet and marks the third dP-hosted and commissioned world premiere by the quartet in the last five years.
NHK—the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Japan's only public broadcasting company—will be at Duke to film the world premiere.
Steve Reich's WTC 9/11 was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by the Barbican/London, Carnegie Hall, Duke Performances/Duke University, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. This commission was also made possible by the Chamber Music America Commissioning Program, with funding generously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.