Ben Folds wants to challenge musicians in orchestra collaborations

Posted on: November 3, 2011

In Sunday’s (10/30) Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), George Lang writes, “A Ben Folds concert with a symphony orchestra is not just ‘Brick,’ ‘Landed’ and ‘Zak and Sara’ with strings attached. The singer-songwriter, renowned for his piano virtuosity and razor wit, cannot abide using the talented musicians of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic as mere window dressing. He wants them to be his rock band. ‘My hang-up with doing these symphony orchestra shows had been that I’d seen a few where the rock band was on stage and the symphony orchestra were accompanying with really kind of ‘who cares?’ arrangements,’ said Folds, who performs with the Philharmonic at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Civic Center Music Hall. But Folds found a solution to the problem in early 2005, when he collaborated with several composers and arrangers in Perth, Australia, for two performances with the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra. … That experiment led to a series of symphonic performances throughout Australia and the U.S., and since that time, Folds added several new arrangements by one of the most highly regarded orchestral arrangers in rock history. … [Paul] Buckmaster’s ‘special thing’ is a distinctively aggressive style of orchestral arrangement.”

Posted November 3, 2011