This past Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., a silence hung over the packed Haggin Auditorium in the Mitchell Fine Arts Center as patrons waited in anticipation for the Kronos Quartet to begin. The concert was part of the Dorothy J. and Fred K. Smith Endowed Concert Series and Transy’s New Frontiers series. The Kronos Quartet is a Grammy award-winning group from San Francisco and have been together for over 45 years. The varied program contained arrangements of well-known pieces such as “The House of the Rising Sun,” “Summertime,” and Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” The foursome also highlighted lesser-known composers from their 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, an education and legacy project that is commissioning and distributing online music for free. A project that has been going since 2015, the repertoire features 25 female composers and 25 male composers.
The audience was mesmerized when they heard voices of Mahalia Jackson, Studs Terkel, and Dr. Clarence B. Jones who were key players and influences during the civil rights movement. With Black History Month just around the corner and Martin Luther King Jr. Day last week, attendees were especially moved by the performance. After the show, the crowd left energized and awestruck at the pure talent they had witnessed. The show will certainly be unforgettable for many.