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SATURDAY

The Kronos Quartet’s efforts to expand the string-quartet repertoire have produced vast numbers of new and innovative compositions, and the works presented in tonight’s concert aren’t exceptions. Perhaps the most anticipated piece of this evening’s program is the world premiere of Triple Quartet, composed by Steve Reich (lately enjoying the success of his music on the DJ circuit due to a recent remix album of his works) expressly for Kronos. While Triple Quartet is the only original quartet composition on the program, the remaining two pieces are certainly challenging—and in the case of Ben Johnston’s arrangement of Harry Partch’s U.S. Highball: A Musical Account of Slim’s Transcontinental Hobo Trip, controversial. The iconoclastic Partch invented his own scale, of 43 tones to the octave, and composed for instruments of his own design. Partch purists, who believe his works shouldn’t be played with conventional instruments, are up in arms—at least on one specialist listserv—about Johnston’s arrangement and Kronos’ performance. The third piece, Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, was controversial enough to cause riots at its 1913 premiere, and John Geist’s complexly transcribed quartet-plus-piano arrangement, performed tonight by Kronos with guest pianist Margaret Kampmeier, promises to be every bit as challenging as the original orchestral version. At 5 p.m. Saturday, May 22, at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. $15-37.50. (202) 467-4600. (Amy Domingues)