(SAN FRANCISCO) – Sunny Jungin Yang is the new cellist for the Kronos Quartet, perhaps the world’s best-known string quartet – certainly the most prominent such contemporary ensemble – succeeding Jeffrey Zeigler, who has performed with Kronos for the past eight seasons and will step down from the group this May.
Ziegler’s last performances with Kronos will be May 10 – 11, 2013, at Peak Performances in Montclair, N.J., where the group will perform with violinist/performance artist/composer Laurie Anderson in Landfall, an evening-length collaboration. Yang will take the stage with Kronos for the first time on June 22, inaugurating the quartet’s 40th anniversary season with a free concert featuring Chinese pipa player Wu Man at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, Conn. The new season will continue with premiere performances of Kronos-commissioned works by Philip Glass, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Terry Riley, Karin Rehnqvist, and Amon Tobin, among several other composers.
Zeigler’s departure is motivated by his desire to work on solo projects and new collaborations, and to begin teaching at Mannes College and the New School For Music. He is relocating to Brooklyn, where his wife, the composer Paola Prestini, has become the Creative Director of the heralded new music venue OMW (Original Music Workshop).
Born in Incheon, South Korea, Yang emigrated at a young age with her family to Pretoria, South Africa, where she resided until attending Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Academy. She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Royal Northern Conservatory of Music in Manchester, England, where she studied with eminent cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. She completed her studies with Kirshbaum at USC’s Thornton School of Music, where she earned a Masters of Music. She has served on the faculty of the Young Artist Program at the Yellow Barn Chamber Music School and Festival in Putney, Vermont.
“I’m unbelievably thrilled to be joining Kronos,” Yang says. “The Quartet has always been an inspiration to me, and I never dreamed that one day I would be part of this fantastic and unique ensemble. I’m looking forward to creating and sharing exciting music with my new colleagues.”
Says Kronos’ artistic director David Harrington, “Sunny Yang will bring incredible artistry and energy to Kronos as we continue our exploration of today’s music. Each of our three line-ups over the past 35 years has had its own special character. I’m really excited to hear how our sound evolves with Sunny in the group.
“At the same time, I’m reflecting on the amazing musical adventures that we’ve had with Jeffrey Zeigler over these past eight years. We will miss his own unique musicianship — and we’re looking forward to our remaining concerts with him this winter and spring. We wish Jeff the very best as he moves on to new artistic projects.”
Zeigler said of Kronos, “I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to create music with some of the world’s most exciting artists in many of the world’s most prestigious venues. It has been an honor and a joy for me to share the stage with David, John and Hank. They are wonderful colleagues and will continue to be my friends. I would like to thank them and the entire organization for their tireless work and support over these past eight years.”
Says Kronos’ long-time, Grammy-winning record producer Judith Sherman, who brought both Zeigler and Yang to the group’s attention, “Sunny truly embodies her name. Her playing is joyful, beautiful, and meaningful. I think she’s going to be a fabulous addition to Kronos.”
For nearly 40 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet — David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello) — has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, the Grammy-winning Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential ensembles of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings ofextraordinary breadth, and commissioning more than 750 new works and arrangements for string quartet. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians.
Integral to Kronos’ work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world’s foremost composers, including Americans Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich; Azerbaijan’s Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; Poland’s Henryk Górecki; and Argentina’s Osvaldo Golijov. Additional collaborators from around the world have included Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; the legendary Bollywood “playback singer” Asha Bhosle; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq; Mexican rockers Café Tacuba; famed Azeri vocalist Alim Qasimov; and iconic American singer-songwriter Tom Waits.
A non-profit organization based in San Francisco, the Kronos Quartet/Kronos Performing Arts Association is committed to mentoring emerging musicians and composers, and to creating, performing, and recording new works. The quartet devotes five months of each year to touring, appearing in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, clubs, and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific on recordings, with a discography on Nonesuch Records including Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers that simultaneously topped Billboard’s Classical and World Music lists; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy–nominated celebration of Mexican culture; the 2003 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite; and Floodplain (2009), spotlighting music from regions of the world riven by conflict.
A native of Incheon, South Korea, Sunny Jungin Yang emigrated with her family to Pretoria, South Africa, at the age of 11. She attended high school at Michigan’s prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy before earning collegiate degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Royal Northern Conservatory of Music in Manchester, England, where she studied with eminent cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. She completed her studies with Kirshbaum at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where she earned a Masters of Music. She has served on the faculty of the Young Artist Program at the innovative Yellow Barn Chamber Music School and Festival in Putney, Vermont. Her distinguished past collaborators include Anthony Marwood, Jeremy Denk, Gilbert Kalish, and Donald Weilerstein. Her recent performance repertoire includes works by Alban Berg, Alfred Schnittke, Krzysztof Penderecki, Steve Reich, Osvaldo Golijov, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Steve Mackey.