Skip to page content
  • WDCH
  • Apr. 2, 2005

    Zrihan, Called "The Man with the Nightingale Voice," Is Undisputed Master of Judeo-Moroccan Sacred and Secular Music

    SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2005, AT 8 PM

    The acclaimed Kronos Quartet and Israel-based vocal virtuoso cantor Emil Zrihan and his group - described by the Chicago Tribune as having a voice that "simply has no parallel among man or woman" - perform a world premiere collaboration featuring Arabic-inspired music that transcends Middle Eastern cultures on Saturday, April 2, 2005, at 8 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Concluding the Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2004/2005 World Music Series, the program features both contemporary and ancient music, as well as arrangements by celebrated Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov, a MacArthur Fellow, who has collaborated on more than 30 works with Kronos, and Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin.

    For more than 30 years, the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet 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, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential ensembles of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 40 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world's most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioning hundreds of works for string quartet.

    Zrihan, who was born in Morocco and moved to Israel as a child, is a cantor who sings in Hebrew and Arabic. His vocal feats and mastery of the Judeo-Moroccan sacred and secular music have earned glowing reviews across the globe. The New York Times said, "This cantor had people dancing in the aisles." The Chicago Tribune proclaimed, "With a voice that could penetrate granite and a technique that defied belief, Zrihan stood as one of the world's towering vocalists - regardless of genre. The sound he produced was so charismatic, the tone so lustrous and the technique so fluid that one quickly understood why he has been compared more often to birds than to other vocalists."

    Composer Osvaldo Golijov, noted for musical compositions that defy categorization, was raised in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina. Born to a piano teacher mother and physician father, Golijov was raised surrounded by classical music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the neuvo tango of Astor Piazzolla. His eclectic religious, cultural and musical background has had a profound affect on his compositions, which have been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles throughout the world. He brings his unique sensibilities to this unique collaboration between Emil Zrihan and the Kronos Quartet.

    Vocalist EMIL ZRIHAN, hailed for his charismatic style and incredible vocal versatility, was born in Rabat, Morocco and moved as a young child to the ancient city of Ashkelon on Israel, where he still resides. A descendant of the Jews who were forced out of Andalusia after Queen Isabel's conquest of the area in 1492, Zrihan became interested in the Jewish-Andalusian singing tradition, of which he has become the undisputed master. Says Zrihan, "The Jews who were forced to leave Andalusia settled in Italy, Eastern Europe and North African. Since then, our Andalusian traditions have been inherited from father to son." He has been instrumental in expanding the art of Andalusian singing in Israel and beyond. His most recent recording, "Ashkelon," named after his hometown, which is one of the world's oldest cities, includes religious Jewish songs, Arab-Moroccan folk songs, Andalusian-Jewish-Arab music and flamenco. It features bassist Youssi Fine, who has collaborated with Madonna and David Bowie, among others.

    The adventurous approach of the KRONOS QUARTET- David Harrington and John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola) and Jennifer Culp (cello) - dates back to the ensemble's origins. In 1973, David Harrington was inspired to form Kronos after hearing George Crumb's Black Angels, a highly unorthodox, Vietnam War-inspired work featuring bowed water glasses, spoken word passages, and electronic effects. Kronos went on to build a compellingly eclectic repertoire for string quartet, performing and recording works by 20th-century masters (Bartók, Shostakovich, Webern), contemporary composers (Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke), jazz legends (Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk), and artists from even farther afield (rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, Pakistani vocal master Pandit Pran Nath, avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn). Integral to Kronos' work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world's foremost composers, including the quartet's most frequent composer-collaborators is "Father of Minimalism" Terry Riley. Kronos has also collaborated extensively with composers such as Philip Glass, Azerbaijan's Franghiz Ali Zadeh, Steve Reich, and Argentina's Osvaldo Golijov. In addition to composers, Kronos counts many artists from around the world among its regular collaborators, including the renowned American soprano Dawn Upshaw; Mexican pop-rockers Café Tacuba; the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks; and Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man. Kronos has performed live with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Modern Jazz Quartet, Tom Waits, Betty Carter and David Bowie, and has appeared on recordings by such diverse talents as singer songwriters Dave Matthews, Nelly Furtado, Joan Armatrading and Texas yodeler Don Walser. Kronos' music has also featured prominently in other media, including film (Requiem for a Dream, 21 Grams, Heat, True Stories) and dance, with noted choreographers like Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp and the duo Eiko & Koma setting pieces to Kronos' music.

    Born in 1960, composer OSVALDO GOLIJOV was raised in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina, a provincial capital of half a million people about fifty kilometers from Buenos Aires. He was raised surrounded in chamber classical music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla. Golijov studied piano at the local conservatory, subsequently moving in 1983 to Israel, where he studied at the Rubin Academy of Jerusalem and immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of that city. He moved to the United States in 1986, and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania under George Crumb. In 1990, as a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Golijov wrote Yiddishbbuk, which was premiered by the St. Lawrence String Quartet in July 1992. While at Tanglewood, Golijov became personally acquainted with the Kronos Quartet. This relationship, now a decade old, continues to blossom. Golijov's work K'vakarat was recorded by Kronos and cantor Misha Alexandrovich, and in 1997, Kronos and clarinetist David Krakauer recorded Golijov's Klezmer-accented The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind. The Kronos CD of the work became a bestseller in the classical music world. Over the years, Golijov has collaborated on some 30 works with the Kronos Quartet, including a series of arrangements of music from around the world. In 2000, Golijov completed the "St. Mark Passion," commissioned by Helmuth Rilling to commemorate the250th anniversary of J. S. Bach's death. Golijov is an Associate Professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he has taught since 1991; is on the faculties of the Boston Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center; and has been Composer-in-Residence for Marlboro Music, Ravinia, and the Cape and Islands festivals. His recent projects include commissions from Carnegie Hall and the Boston Symphony, works for Dawn Upshaw, and a chamber opera for the Tanglewood Music Center.

    LEV 'LJOVA' ZHURBIN is a composer, arranger and violist. Based in New York City but born in Moscow, he is the son of composer Alexander Zhurbin and poet Irena Ginzburg. Zhurbin's arrangements have been performed by Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, the Kronos Quartet, the Bond Quartet, Lara St. John, and others. He has composed more than 70 works, including compositions for orchestras, chamber ensembles, jazz and Latin bands, as well as over a dozen scores for film and theater projects. Recent commissions include orchestral works for the Staten Island Symphony, the Wild Ginger Philharmonic and New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, as well as a chamber music commission from the American Composers Forum. Zhurbin is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied viola with Samuel Rhodes.



    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    Kronos Quartet

    Emil Zrihan, vocals

    Arrangements by Osvaldo Golijov and Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin

    Tickets ($25 - $80) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

    # # #

  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3034; photos: 213.972.3034