Thoughts on orchestras performing works with—and by—rock artists

Posted on: November 11, 2016

“Tonight for the first time, a classical guitar ensemble is playing a concert as the guest artist with the Waco Symphony Orchestra,” writes David A. Smith in Thursday’s (11/10) Waco Tribune. Smith is a board member of the orchestra and a senior lecturer in history at Baylor University, and the November concert includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 and Rodrigo’s Concierto Andaluz for Four Guitars and Orchestra with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. “Classical music blends with other musical styles even when we don’t immediately intuit a connection…. [R.E.M. bass player] Mike Mills … is touring with … [classical violinist] Robert McDuffie … performing a piece Mills wrote called ‘Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra.’ … Paul McCartney [has] been writing orchestral works since 1991. That was the year he recorded his ‘Liverpool Oratorio.’ … In 2001 … Billy Joel composed an entire album worth of solo piano pieces in the style of Chopin titled ‘Fantasies and Delusions.’… What can we learn from all this? … What we often call classical music has a great appeal to those who have spent their careers working in other forms; to them it’s not alien, it’s aspirational. It can be that for everyone as well.”

Posted November 11, 2016