BANFF – Before string quartets from across the globe compete in the Banff International String Quartet (BISQC), people can pay homage to one of the most influential classical music groups of our time, Kronos Quartet.
A Thousand Thoughts is a collaborative live documentary piece between Oscar-award winning filmmakers, Sam Green and Joe Bini, and Kronos Quartet. It illustrates the incredible history of the renowned quartet group.
“I remember seeing them live and I was really taken with how they were always stepping outside of the box of what you thought a quartet was all about,” said Banff Centre vice-president of arts and leadership Howard Jang.
Accompanied by a live score performed by Kronos Quartet, and a multimedia project made up of archival video footage, photos and interviews, Green narrates the ensemble’s story from its inception to the legacy it became today.
The San Francisco string quartet is comprised of four members including violinists, David Harrington and John Serba, viola player, Hank Dutt, and cello player, Sunny Yang.
According to Jang, Kronos Quartet was constantly finding new ways to redefine the string quartet and this is integral to what Banff Centre wants for its artists – to embrace innovative and new ways to pursue music and art.
“That’s actually what we do when working with artists in residence here, saying, ‘well, what do you want to explore?’ And the Kronos Quartet ideally is the living example of exploring new ways and different ways of presenting,” Jang said.
With nearly 45 years in the classical music industry, Kronos Quartet has been revered for its groundbreaking performances, gaining recognition worldwide. The classical ensemble also won nearly 40 awards, two of which being the distinguished Polar Music and Avery Fisher Prize.
“They’re incredibly proficient in thinking and doing truly world class quartet performances of the standard repertoire,” Jang said.
“But really for me, they’ve always held that sort of wonderment of what are they going to do next and who are they going to explore that’s going to rethink the way we think of a string quartet.”
With A Thousand Thoughts introducing this season of BISQC, Jang is excited for audience members to see not only the live documentary, but to also embrace the world of classical string quartets from all over the world.
“The role of the public and audience is not just to listen and enjoy, but they fully engage in the presentation of the concerts themselves by being so present and being so connected to each of their performances and each of the performers,” Jang said.
Competing in this year’s BISQC are Callisto Quartet, Omer Quarte, Elliot Quartett, Marmen Quartet, Quatuor Agate and Quatuor Elmire, Ruisi Quartet, Ulysses Quartet, Vera Quartet and Viano String Quartet. The jury is comprised of many notable musicians, including David Harrington from Kronos Quartet.
The live documentary experience, A Thousand Thoughts will be on at the Banff Centre, Friday (Aug. 30). The BISQC will follow on Saturday (Aug. 31) and Sunday (Sept. 1) where international string quartets will collide for two intense days of classical music competition.
For more information on the unique documentary experience A Thousand Thoughts and on the 2019 BISQC, visit www.banffcentre.ca.