About the Grant

$25,000 to support the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Kronos Quartet in commissioning Tanzanian-born artist Walter Kitundu to create a new work (MAP 2005) for string instruments and one-of-a-kind handbuilt phonoharp turntables.

About the Project

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) and the Kronos Quartet are commissioning a new work by experimental composer and instrument maker Walter Kitundu, titled Cerulean Sweet. Scheduled for April 2006 as part of YBCA’s 2005-06 Performance Season, this work will be performed by the Kronos Quartet on traditional string instruments and Kitundu’s hand-crafted “phono-harp” turntables.

In commissioning Kitundu, Kronos is continuing their 30-year commitment toward the creation and presentation of new work, which expands the repertoire and vocabulary of contemporary music. Kitundu has been commissioned to develop a composition/installation for the Quartet using one or more phonoharps – beautifully crafted multi-stringed turntables capable of amplifying the tones of vibrating strings and vinyl records. The design for Kitundu’s phonoharps is inspired by the sarangi, a bowed musical instrument from Northern India.

This collaboration between Kitundu/Kronos is designed to pay tribute to jazz legend Charles Mingus. The artists will collectively study the complete catalogue of recordings by Mingus and will distill samples of his original compositions onto an LP vinyl recording. This recording will then be manipulated in a live concert by Kitundu on the phonoharps. Kronos will accompany Kitundu on string instruments with a specially transcribed version of the Mingus samples. This string version will be recorded on a second vinyl LP, which Kitundu will also manipulate during the live concert. Audiences will be able to hear a live “mix” of all three versions of the Mingus classics.
Walter Kitundu
Walter Kitundu


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