Kronos Quartet & Patti Smith Recipients of 2011 Polar Music Prize!

September 13, 2011

Congratulations are in order for the Kronos Quartet, featured prominently in “The Reach of Resonance.” The San Francisco-based group is the most recent recipient of the prestigious Polar Music Prize, presented by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden at the Stockholm Concert Hall, which is awarded annually to individual artists, groups, and institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements in music. The Polar prize was founded by the late Stig Anderson, music producer, manager (of ABBA fame), and founder of the Polar Music record label, and prides itself on crossing musical boundaries. Past recipients include: Paul McCartney (1992), Ray Charles and Ravi Shankar (1998), Bob Dylan (2000), B.B. King and György Ligeti (2004), Valery Gergiev and Led Zeppelin (2006), and Ennio Morricone and Björk (2010). This year, the prize was also awarded to legendary American punk rock singer/songwriter, Patti Smith.

The program notes presented at the ceremony said of Kronos, “For 40 years, the Kronos Quartet has been revolutionizing the potential of the string quartet genre when it comes to both style and content. The same type of chamber music ensemble—two violins, a viola and a cello—for which Mozart and Beethoven wrote can also be used to comment on international politics, interpret avant-garde rock and incorporate music from every corner of the world.”

David Harrington, Kronos’ founder, artistic director, and violinist, said in his acceptance speech at the Stockholm Concert Hall in Sweden, “The greatest piece has yet to be written, the most perfect note has yet to be played. Our challenges are clear: Where is the next source of wonder? How can we make the world safer for our grandkids? Our work will always be an attempt to express what it means to be alive now in the world we all share.”

So, congratulations Kronos, on 40 years well done. Here’s to 40 more!

–Christa Lorenz

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