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          The other night, I stopped at my local UDF, a chain of convenience stores and gas stations. As I walked out, I heard a Beethoven violin sonata coming from the speakers hanging by the front door. They play classical music to keep people from loitering outside, because, really, who could stand to listen to that? I’ve run into this in other places (you may have, …

  The other day, an American got thrown out of a concert in Britain for crowdsurfing – surely not the first time that’s happened. Here’s the catch – it was at a performance of Handel’s Messiah, and the offender was a Stanford University expert in “non-equilibrium molecular reaction dynamics.” Weren’t expecting that, were you? The concert was at the Bristol Old Vic, on a series designed to be “accessible and …

  Recently, Sir Mix-a-Lot appeared with the Seattle Symphony to perform his signature song “Baby Got Back,” with orchestration by Gabriel Prokofiev (composer and grandson of the famous Russian). Video of the performance has gone viral on Youtube, with over 2 million views in less than a week. The concert was a special occasion, for two reasons. It was part of the Symphony’s Sonic Evolution series, premiering new works inspired …

    “Quit thinking like a classical musician and start thinking like a rock musician.” So says Ivan Trevino, one of the cellists in the band Break of Reality. In a blog post on the website of The Strad magazine, Trevino shares his thoughts on how classical musicians can learn from the rock world. His best observations are about the over-thinking we classical players do, and how it can hurt …

From the New York Times review of the Budapest Festival Orchestra concert on Monday: “(The orchestra) was almost halfway into its performance of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance No. 8 (Op. 72) on Monday evening when Gaspar Szente, one of its percussionists, ambled through the string section to the front of the stage. Sitting down on the stool that had been placed there for the next concerto’s solo cellist, he calmly reached …

Yesterday, I played on a concert of opera favorites with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and the excellent soprano Sarah Coburn. The program included the famous Rossini overture to “The Barber of Seville,” which frankly is hard for me to get through without giggling – I can only think of Bugs Bunny torturing Elmer Fudd – “Ehhhhhhhh – next!” Besides being the soundtrack for perhaps the greatest cartoon of all time, …

              Last week, I got my copy of the Juilliard Journal in the mail, and I was very proud to see this article about Bach and Boombox. A big thank you to Susan Jackson for taking an interest in what I’m doing, and giving it such a nice write-up! It got me thinking about my time at Juilliard Pre-College, and how much the school …

In a post last week, I talked about Time for Three. They play tunes you don’t expect classical musicians to, like The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” They also do mashups, where Grieg’s Holberg Suite morphs into Led Zeppelin and Justin Timberlake (and goes back too – a neat trick). Now, playing other people’s music well is not easy – anyone who’s heard a third-rate band ruining their favorite …

Is classical music entertainment? Recently, the very traditional world of classical music has been revitalized by people trying new things (and not a moment too soon). One of my favorites: Time for Three, who call themselves the world’s first “classically trained garage band.” They are, first and foremost, GREAT players, trained at one music’s elite academies, the Curtis Institute. But they also put on a great show, playing original compositions, …

Why is Beethoven’s 5th Symphony the one piece of “classical” music everyone knows? Because it’s the same four note idea repeated several hundred times! You know those songs you can’t forget? Usually, it’s the hook that gets stuck in your head, whether it’s Beethoven’s Op. 18 #1 or My Sharona. (I grew up in the 80’s -no judgement, please!) Whenever I present Bach and Boombox, I start with music that …