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Kronos Quartet collaborating with American Conservatory Theater

Award: $14,000 Performing Arts Award, 1998

Premiere: March 22-24, 2002

This project focused on the development of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, an opera in seven tellings, a new piece of music theater by American Conservatory Theater (ACT), its then playwright-in-residence Mac Wellman, composer David Lang, and Kronos Quartet. The piece was a musical adaptation of an Ambrose Bierce short story, “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.”

The Creative Work Fund grant enabled Wellman and Lang to involve the quartet in the music’s development from its outset, specifically supporting intensive, developmental workshops among all key artistic partners. The project was part of a new effort by the theater to support the work of diverse contemporary playwrights and to engage multidisciplinary artists in creation of innovative new works.

Kronos Quartet’s artistic mission is the presentation and promotion of contemporary music and the expansion of the string quartet repertoire. ACT was founded in Pittsburgh in 1965. In 1967, at the invitation of local community leaders, A.C.T. opened its first San Francisco season at the historic Geary Theater, where it continues to offer an annual season of plays along with four levels of conservatory training and a full complement of community programs.