Concerto mash-up: rock band + violin + string orchestra

Posted on: September 23, 2016

“R.E.M.’s Mike Mills spent decades performing in front of millions, but it’s his latest work that makes him nervous,” writes Mike Ayers in Monday’s (9/19) Wall Street Journal. “This past June, the bassist and keyboard player premiered a new piece of music, ‘Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra’ with the Toronto Symphony. … The piece, which features six movements including R.E.M.’s 1993 song ‘Nightswimming,’ is … the first he’s done that aims to blend classical and rock worlds. He started working on the piece roughly a year-and-a-half ago, when his childhood friend, … violinist Robert McDuffie, suggested that he undertake a piece that forges both of their backgrounds.” After performances in Rome and Aspen, “They decided to record it … in Atlanta [using] students from Mercer University, where McDuffie runs a sought-after string program. The program’s conductor, Ward Stare, conducted the sessions. Along with Mills’s music … they also recorded Phillip Glass’s ‘Symphony No. 3’ and John Adams’s ‘Road Movies,’ which are also part of the live concert experience.” Says Mills, “We’re trying to bridge the gap between the two genres. It’s not a forced marriage. It’s joyful and playful and fun and beautiful at the same time.”

Posted September 23, 2016