There are several reasons to admire the Kronos Quartet, and, unquestionably, the primary reason is their extraordinary talent. But I’d like to add two more: their musical and professional integrity, and their belief in music as a spiritual quest.

Since 1973, when David Harrington founded the group after hearing a performance of George Crumb’s response to the Vietnam War in the form of a string quartet, the Kronos Quartet has been a major mover and shaker of contemporary music. Their mission has been to expand the standard string repertoire to include works inconceivable to most of their classical music comrades. Over the past 28 years, the group has commissioned and premiered more than 400 new string quartets by composers spanning six continents and at least four generations.

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