Kronos Quartet with Vocalist Mahsa Vahdat Feature Music Highlighting the Diversity of Muslim-Majority Countries

August 22, 2019

(ATLANTA) – The Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University opens the 2019–2020 Candler Concert Series with Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet performing "Music for Change: The Banned Countries" on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. Featuring Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, the program highlights the rich diversity of artistic voices from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  "My goal for Kronos has always been to be a revolutionary force," says Kronos Quartet Artistic Director David Harrington, "not just in making music, but in exploring the ways that music can increase our understanding of our times and our connection to people around the world."

As part of a season exploring how music can represent the voice of and find connections across diverse cultures, this program features newly commissioned arrangements, such as Dooyo by Somalia’s Dur-Dur Band and "Ya Mun Dakhal Bahr Al-Hawa (Hey, Who Enters The Sea of Passion?)" by Yemen’s Fatimah Al-Zaelaeyah, as well as pieces gleaned from Kronos’ long-standing repertoire. 

About the Artists: 

For 45 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet – David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello) – has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the world’s most celebrated and influential ensembles, performing thousands of concerts, releasing more than 60 recordings, collaborating with many of the world’s most accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning over 1,000 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos has received over 40 awards, including the prestigious Polar Music Prize, Avery Fisher Prize, and the WOMEX (World Music Expo) Artist Award.

Mahsa Vahdat is one of the most important performers of Persian vocal music in the world today. Her career has given a deeper knowledge about Iranian poetry and music to large audiences in Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and Africa. Vahdat has developed her personal style based on the Persian vocal tradition of classical and regional folk music, but with a contemporary expression. She has always searched for ways to make her music relevant to the present world. Even if the origin of her styles is Iranian, she believes in her music’s ability to express a universal message of humanism and freedom. Her collaboration with musicians from Iran and many other parts of the world has contributed to the development of her personal expression.

Since 2007, Vahdat has been one of the ambassadors of Freemuse Organization, an independent international organization that advocates freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide. In 2010, she was granted the Freemuse Award. 

About the Candler Concert Series:

Made possible by a generous gift from the late Flora Glenn Candler, the Candler Concert Series brings internationally-renowned artists to the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University. Candler artists range from large ensembles to solo artists and come from a wide variety of musical genres.

All concerts are presented in the Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts  (1700 N. Decatur Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322). Tickets are available through the Schwartz Center Box Office online at, in person, or by calling 404.727.5050 Monday – Friday, noon – 6 p.m.

The Schwartz Center for Performing Arts is committed to providing performances and facilities accessible to all. Accommodation requests should be made at least 24 hours in advance of the event to the box office at 404.727.5050, or by email at