Kronos Quartet to present world premiere of Riley composition

Author: Kyle Fitzenreiter

Kronos Quartet

The University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center will host the world premiere of “Transylvanian Horn Courtship” by composer Terry Riley and performed by the legendary Kronos Quartet on March 27 and 28 (Friday and Saturday).

The performances, which will include other original compositions and take place in the Leighton Concert Hall of the performing arts center, will begin at 7 p.m. March 27 and at 7:30 p.m. March 28. Admission is $48 for the general public, $38 for faculty and staff, $36 for senior citizens, and $15 for all students. Tickets are available online at, or by visiting or calling the center’s ticket office at 574-631-2800.

Commissioned for the performing arts center as part of its 2008-09 Visiting Artist Series, Riley’s new work will first be presented at the March 27 performance, at which the composer will be in attendance.

One of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, the Kronos Quartet has performed thousands of concerts worldwide, released more than 40 recordings, collaborated with many of the world’s most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioned hundreds of works and arrangements for string quartet. The quartet’s work has garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance in 2004 and Musicians of the Year honors in 2003 from Musical America.

For the “Transylvania Horn Courtship,” it’s as if “the group will actually transform itself right in front of the audience; the kind of thing I’ve always wanted to do and now we get to do it,” said David Harrington, founder and leader of the Kronos Quartet.

“There are new instruments that are being built right now for (the piece). These instruments are going to look different from other bowed, stringed instruments because they’re related to what’s called the trumpet violins or Stroh instruments, in that they have a brass bell that comes out from the bridge,” Harrington added. “It was an early way to make an almost electrified instrument but was totally acoustic so that it ends up sounding quite a bit like a trumpet. Cello becomes tuba, viola akin to trombone."

The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center presents world-renowned performances in the Leighton Concert Hall, Decio Mainstage Theatre, Reyes Organ and Choral Hall and Philbin Studio Theatre, art film screenings through the Browning Cinema, University department and faculty performances, and other programming. More information is available on the Web at