Daily Bow: Genre-Bending Music!


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In the old days, we like to think, classical music was classical music. Pop music was pop music. Rock music was rock music. Everything tended to stay within well-defined boundaries and occupied what Stephen Jay Gould writes of in his thoughts on evolution as “separate magesteria.” Whether or not that has ever been true, it’s becoming less and less so as music forges a path into the 21st century. The lines between genres and even between art forms are becoming increasingly blurred, and “cross-overs” between different types of music, art, and musical demographics are becoming ever more popular. Classical music, especially, has seen a huge expansion in what we consider a part of the genre. From Mark O’Conner’s Americana-infused brand of classical string music to a New York-based horn quartet named Genghis Barbie who does everything from classical standard repertoire to covers of Lady Gaga, classical music has never looked like this or had its metaphorical finger in so many pies.

In a high-profile example of this genre-bending, edgier side of classical music, the New York Times has reviewed the premiere of Mexican composer Enrico Chapela’s concerto for electric cello, called “Magnetar.” The piece was premiered with the inimitable Gustavo Dudamel at the helm of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the cellist (playing the Yamaha Silent Cello) was Johannes Moser, whose reputation as a standard-rep cellist is one of great elegance.

In a great show of versatility, all parties involved reportedly gave a barn-burner of a performance–the piece, with its metal-inspired and off-the-wall techniques (the orchestra didn’t even begin the piece with their instruments; they simply rubbed their hands together), proved to be a huge success.

Much has been made, though, of what this type of crossover means, both for metal and for classical music. Are fans of one happy to see fans of the other at concerts? Is one or the other genre “selling out”? Nobody seems to have definitely answers, but one thing is for certain: genre-bending music is a huge success, and it’s certainly here to stay.

Check out the story and let us know what you think!

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