For pop musicians, orchestra concerts offer special rewards

Posted on: June 3, 2013

“Five years ago, the Boston Pops approached Natalie Merchant with a proposal: If she performed her catalog alongside the A-list orchestra at a reduced rate, the ensemble would give her the corresponding sheet music free,” writes Kevin Joy in Sunday’s (6/2) Columbus Dispatch (Ohio). “The former alt-rock vocalist for 10,000 Maniacs enjoyed the pairing so much that today she books symphonic shows exclusively.… In July [Merchant] will headline a Picnic With the Pops concert [by the Columbus Symphony] at Columbus Commons. She is among the many rock, pop and soul musicians open to the hybrid concept—and sought by regional orchestras to bolster their lineups.” In the article singer-songwriter Chaka Khan says  orchestra shows are “ ‘one of my all-time favorite things to do. The quality of the music is so much higher.’ … A diverse range of available guests helps pops ensembles strike a balance that’s alluring to wider crowds, said San Diego Symphony spokesman Stephen Kougias…. A July 18 suite of music from the Final Fantasy video-game series is scheduled to coincide with Comic-Con International—with costumes encouraged. Closer to home, Cincinnati Pops manager Sam Strater agreed that infusing an element of fun helps attract more symphony-goers.… On Sept. 20-22, the group will premiere an original show with Star Wars and Star Trek music. Iconic actor George Takei will narrate; a Cincinnati Observatory astronomer will supply outer-space factoids; and images from NASA will be projected in the background.”

Posted June 3, 2013