Violinist David Harrington founded Kronos Quartet in 1973, inspired by a piece of music by George Crumb called Black Angels. More than forty years later, they’re still going strong. Here’s a glimpse into how Harrington begins his musical day, another in the series “Practicing Musicians.”

Harrington approaches his violin each day with deference: “For me… Dealing with the violin – I deal with it, you know. It’s not easy for me to play the violin. It’s a very tough task-master, and the violin always wins. So what I try to do is make friends with it when I take it out of its case.”

His approach is almost meditative – he says he gradually eases into playing, starting by concentrating on bowing ‘in sync’ with his violin. “I generally play a long, long tone – I try to get my body used to what it’s going to need to do that day to deal with the instrument.”  And it’s only then that the left hand gets involved. “I generally play something like a low note, and then I slide up on various fingers up an octave, and I try to play on every string, and I try to be sure the bow is my friend.”