Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson have performed Landfall at commissioning presenters Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Adelaide Festival, Barbican Centre, Montclair State University, Perth International Arts Festival, Stanford Live, and the University of Texas at Austin, among other venues. The New York Times said the piece’s presentation at Brooklyn Academy of Music “set the auditorium awash in elegiac string sounds and postmillennial gloom. Performed by the composer and the tirelessly innovative Kronos Quartet, the work, written in New York during that epic storm, often resembled the flotsam bobbing on the receding floodwaters, with poignant snippets and small treasures.” The Washington Post calls it "riveting, gorgeous."
Kronos Quartet founder, artistic director, and violinist David Harrington says, “Laurie Anderson is the master magician musician who has always inhabited those secret places where technology has personality, where ‘real time’ is questioned and where all the elements of performance meet and combine into music. Her process is to gather and continue to gather potentially useful aspects as she sculpts a shape. Her sense of play and fun and her continuous experimenting make her the ideal chemist (or is it alchemist?) in the laboratory of music.”
In addition to Landfall, Anderson also releases a new book in February, All the Things I Lost in the Flood: Essays on Pictures, Language and Code, published by Skira Rizzoli. Two years ago Anderson began looking through her archive of nearly forty years of work, which includes scores of documentation, notebooks, and sketchbooks. In the process, she rediscovered some of her work and looked at many projects with a fresh eye, leading her to write a collection of essays looking at the way language entered her visual work.
Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned—and daring—creative pioneers. Her work, which encompasses music, visual art, poetry, film, and photography, has challenged and delighted audiences around the world for more than thirty years. Anderson is best known for her multimedia presentations and musical recordings. Her tours have taken her around the world, where she has presented her work in small arts spaces and grand concert halls, and everywhere in between. She has numerous major works to her credit, along with countless collaborations with an array of artists, from Jonathan Demme and Brian Eno to Bill T. Jones and Peter Gabriel.
Anderson’s first single, “O Superman,” launched her recording career in 1981, rising to number two on the British pop charts and subsequently appearing on her landmark release Big Science. She went on to record six more albums with Warner Brothers. In 2001, Anderson released her first album with Nonesuch Records, the critically lauded Life on a String. Her subsequent releases on the label include Live in New York (2002), a reissue of Big Science (2007), and Homeland (2010). Nonesuch most recently released the soundtrack to Anderson’s acclaimed film, Heart of a Dog (2015), Uncut called, “‘Warm, witty and thought-provoking … her subject is the very stuff of life: grief, love, joy, memory, loss … like listening to a series of short radio plays or a podcast of Anderson’s anthropological musings … Anderson’s most satisfying and human work.” Additionally, Anderson’s virtual-reality film La Camera Insabbiata, with Hsin-Chien Huang, won the 2017 Venice Film Festival Award for Best VR Experience.
They have won over 40 awards, including a Grammy Award and the prestigious Polar Music and Avery Fisher Prizes. The nonprofit Kronos Performing Arts Association manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours and home season performances, education programs, and a self-produced Kronos Festival. In 2015, Kronos launched Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, an education and legacy project that is commissioning—and distributing for free—the first learning library of contemporary repertoire for string quartet.
Nonesuch, the quartet’s longtime label, celebrated the ensemble’s fortieth anniversary year with two releases: the Kronos Explorer Series five-CD box set and a new album, A Thousand Thoughts; more recently, Nonesuch released the One Earth, One People, One Love: Kronos Plays Terry Riley, five-CD, four album box set that included the new release Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector: Music of Terry Riley; and Folk Songs, which features Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, Rhiannon Giddens, and Natalie Merchant singing traditional folk songs with arrangements by Jacob Garchik, Nico Muhly, Donnacha Dennehy, and Gabe Witcher. Folk Songs was the fiftieth record Kronos has released on the label since 1985.
1 CNN Predicts a Monster Storm 3:19
2 Wind Whistles Through the Dark City 1:59
3 The Water Rises 2:43
4 Our Street Is a Black River 1:20
5 Galaxies 1:07
6 Darkness Falls 1:56
7 Dreams 4:01
8 Dreams Translated 0:51
9 The Dark Side 1:11
10 Built You a Mountain 2:16
11 The Electricity Goes out and We Move to a Hotel 3:04
12 We Learn to Speak Yet Another Language 3:01
13 Dawn of the World 2:22
14 The Wind Lifted the Boats and Left Them on the Highway 2:40
15 It Twisted the Street Signs 1:13
16 Then It Receded 0:52
17 The Nineteen Stars of Heaven 2:44
18 Nothing Left but Their Names 9:38
19 All the Extinct Animals 2:50
20 Galaxies II 0:54
21 Never What You Think It Will Be 1:11
22 Thunder Continues in the Aftermath 1:55
23 We Blame Each Other for Losing the Way 0:42
24 Another Long Evening 1:57
25 Riding Bicycles Through the Muddy Streets 2:37
26 Helicopters Hang Over Downtown 2:16
27 We Head Out 1:50
28 Everything Is Floating 1:59
29 Gongs and Bells Sing 2:33
30 Old Motors and Helicopters 2:49
David Harrington violin
John Sherba violin
Hank Dutt viola
Sunny Yang cello
Creation and Production:
Laurie Anderson music and text
Liubo Borrisov Erst programming
Bob Currie dramaturg
Jacob Garchik transcriptions
Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet and Jacob Garchik arrangements
Konrad Kaczmarek electronics and software design
Shane Koss audio rig design
Brian H Scott lighting designer
Scott Fraser audio engineer
Special thanks to Pea Hicks and Robert Becker for generously providing the optigan for Landfall.
About the Work
The blend of electronic and acoustic strings is the dominant sound of Landfall. Much of the music in this work is generated from the harmonies and delays of unique software designed for the solo viola and reinterpreted for the quartet. In addition, there were elements of the optigan, a keyboard that uses information stored on optical discs.”