Kronos Quartet hosts its third festival at SFJAZZ beginning tonight; called ‘Here and Now,’ the three days will include ten works by artist-in-residence, Iranian-American composer Sahba Aminikia, including three premieres in the opening performance tonight. One of them is a an arrangement of songs by singer Mahsa Vahdat, who will join the quartet for The Sun Rises. Musicians from the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and the San Francisco Girls Chorus will also be guests tonight.
There’s more information, and a complete line up of all the concerts at the Kronos Quartet website.
Aminikia was born in Iran, and studied there and in Russia before becoming a student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. “Do we actually belong entirely to one culture, 100 percent?” he asks. “I wasn’t born and raised like that, you know… I grew up in a society, I listened to Jazz, I listened to Classical Music, and Persian music, obviously. And I adore it at the same time, but I adore other music as well, so I would love to actually bring my own personality into the perspective here.” The arrangements of Mahsa Vahdat’s songs, with texts by Iranian poets, had him calling on much of that wide background, and leaving the rest to chemistry. “The experience was so overwhelming in a way, and challenging. Because putting two forces like Mahsa and Kronos together, it was the hugest challenge for me. And I left everything kind of unfinished to some extent, because I wanted them to get together and perform the music together, get a sense of eachother. You know, that’s how music should be played in any tradition, I think.” Kronos founder, violinist David Harrington sums up the collaboration this way: “I’m a collector of great musical experiences, and I feel like Mahsa creates those, and so this is very special for us.”