Internationally renowned quartet to perform in Yerevan
25 June 2004

>From the World Stage to Armenia: Internationally renowned quartet to perform
in Yerevan

By Gayane Abrahamyan

ArmeniaNow arts reporter After three years of effort to get them to Armenia,
the world-renowned Kronos Quartet is scheduled play in Yerevan June 29 at
Aram Khachatryan Philharmonic Hall.

As far back as 2001, the Armenian Informational Music Center has been trying
to get the quartet to Armenia. For a number of reasons, including
scheduling, and the musicians’ concern that Armenia was in an “unstable”
region, invitations have been turned down.

“We simply cannot count how many and what kind of numerous letters we have
sent to the quartet’s manager telling about Armenia and about the rich
Armenian cultural background,” says chief manager of the center Sona

“Only in the end of 2003 we got an answer to our letters and it seemed to be
unbelievable that their managing director Janet Cowperthwaite wrote that
‘thanks to your latest letter the musicians gave in and agreed to visit

The quartet, comprised of David Harrington on first violin, John Sherba on
second violin, Hank Dutt on viola, and Joan Jeanrenaud on cello, is known
for its experimentation and its ability to cross genres of rock, jazz and
classical music. The group, formed in San Francisco in 1973, has won
numerous international awards, including three Edison Prizes ( Netherlands),
Rolf Schock Prize in Music ( Sweden), a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music
Performance, amongst others.

Tuesday night’s performance is part of Perspectives XXI International Music
Festival, the fifth in Yerevan.

Over the years, more than 450 pieces have been written or arranged for
Kronos. The quartet’s extensive repertoire includes Alban Berg, Alfred
Schnittke, George Crumb, Astor Piazzolla. As early as 15 years ago, the
quartet ordered a composition from Armenian composer Avet Terteryan and
within the past few years, composers Ashot Zohrabyan and Tigran Tamezyan
have written compositions performed by Kronos.

While it is not unusual for Armenia to host the occasional regionally-famous
classical musician or conductor, getting an internationally-known group is a

“This is our cultural policy to invite music stars to Armenia,” says
director of Armenian Information Music Center composer Stepan Rostomyan. “Of
course, it is very hard. Every time it takes two-three years for
successfully finishing negotiations but Armenia with its cultural potential
and history is as good as other countries where visits of stars are a usual
and habitual thing.”

The sanctioning of Perspectives XXI identifies Armenia as a “serious country
and organization”, Rostomyan says, making it easier to negotiate with
world-class artists. During last year’s festival London Symphonietta and
Jury Bashmet performed in Yerevan.

“It would be more impressive if the festival was carried out under high
patronage of the country’s president,” Rostomyan says. “In general when such
musicians are invited to a festival then these kind of events are carried
out precisely. We haven’t gotten consent yet but we still have hope,” says

The Khachatryan hall holds 1600 seats. Ticket prices for the concert range
from $5 to $35- higher than average for Yerevan concerts, but according to
one vendor, ticket sales are high.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress