Its no stretch to call the Kronos Quartet iconic; the string foursomes very name has become shorthand for visionary, genre-blind exploration. And rightly so. Its lineup changing ever so gradually over the past 38 years, Kronos has pursued high-profile collaborations and left-field detours with equal finesse. Soundtrack work has given way, for example, to a collaboration with Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq and stirring interpretations of Sigur Rós and Nine Inch Nails. Long based in San Francisco, the group has prepared a local series of four distinct concerts. The nut of each program is Music from 4 Fences by Jon Rose, who pioneered the notion of playing custom-built fences with bows. Pairing each member of Kronos Quartet violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt, and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler with his own fence, the piece premiered in Australia last year. As if the premise wasnt enticement enough, the programs include the work of young composers involved in the groups Under 30 Project, along with work by Terry Riley, Blur's Damon Albarn (tonight), John Zorn (Feb. 25), Clint Mansell (Feb. 26), and the Nationals Bryce Dessner (Feb. 27). Hows that for diversity? Factor in a luxurious space and an affordable price, and you have a rare treat indeed.
Feb. 24-27, 8 p.m., 2010