At War With Ourselves (MAP 2018)



Kronos Performing Arts Association is commissioning At War with Ourselves, an evening-length work for string quartet and chorus that will explore race relations, social justice, and civil rights in 21st century America. The piece is currently under development by Kronos Quartet, composer Michael Abels, who is known for many commissioned works including the scores to Jordan Peele’s films Get Out and Us, PEN and National Book Awards-winning poet Nikky Finney, and San Francisco-based choral director Valérie Sainte-Agathe.

At War with Ourselves will be composed by Abels with a libretto by Finney, inspired by her 2013 poem “The Battle of and for the Black Face Boy.” The creation period in San Francisco will include workshops and activities led by the artists with young people served by locally-based organizations 826 Valencia, Sunset Youth Services and Youth Speaks. The world premiere performances will take place on May 9 and 10, 2020 at SFJAZZ Center, following a week-long workshop and preview (March 30-April 3, 2020) at the University of South Carolina, where Finney teaches.

Kronos will tour the work to several locations, including Iowa City, Scottsdale, Urbana-Champaign, Washington D.C., New York, and others. Touring engagements will include a multi-day residency in addition to a performance of the work by Kronos, Finney, and a chorus, made up of members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and local singers, directed by Sainte-Agathe.


Michael Abels
Nikky Finney // Facebook
Kronos Quartet // Facebook // Twitter
Valérie Sainte-Agathe

Janet Cowperthwaite