For more than 40 years, the Kronos Quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagining the string quartet experience. Kronos’ adventurous approach dates back to the ensemble’s origins. In 1973, David Harrington was inspired to form Kronos after hearing George Crumb’s Black Angels, a highly unorthodox, Vietnam War-inspired work featuring bowed water glasses, spoken word passages and electronic effects. Kronos revisits the inspiration for the founding of the group with My Lai. The infamous 1968 massacre of unarmed Vietnamese villagers by American soldiers provides the context for this gripping new work written by composer Jonathan Berger and librettist Harriet Scott Chessman for the Kronos Quartet, tenor Rinde Eckert and Vietnamese multi-instrumentalist Vân-Ánh Võ. My Lai, which features traditional Vietnamese instruments and digitally processed sounds, is told from the perspective of the heroic helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson who tried to stop the slaughter and was vilified for reporting it.
Photo by Zoran Orlic
This project is funded in part by Susan & Leonard Nimoy and the Good Works Foundation in support of the CAP UCLA Artists’ Fellowship program.