Bringing Classical Music into a Modern Age

That's what I'm talking about... incorporating all different styles of music (including pop, rock and jazz) into classical music. An article in the Boston Globe speaks of the Quartet San Francisco and the Boston String Quartet including improvisation into their concerts as well as doing covers from U2 and Metallica. Cool! The article goes on to talk about California's Turtle Island Quartet which is credited with starting the trend.

In the concert on 4 June, the Edinburgh Quartet will be premiering my newest quartet - and it incorporates a number of these elements in the composition. While it is not a cover of any specific song, much of the motivation and inspiration for this piece comes from bands like Yes, Kansas, Styx, and Pink Floyd. They were (IMHO) some of the great bands from the Anthem Rock era and great composers. While I was studying their music (yes, I actually did spend time analyzing how they did what they did to make their sound) I realised many of their techniques were the same techniques the classical composers used; they were just augmented by electronic effects and played on a whole new set of instruments -but the complexity and ingenuity was all there.

So, why not reverse the process - write music with all the hooks and sequences we'd expect in "rock" song and allow a string quartet to play them? That's what I've done. On June 4th we'll get to see Tristan "rock out" with some incredible solos - if his fingers don't spontaneously combust!!!


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