Symphony Remix

Last friday’s #artsmgtchat was focused on symphonies and their place within Millennial lifestyles (essentially).  One question asked us

“As an arts consumer+arts manager, what are some of the major barriers to symphony orchestras+classical music?”

Now my focus is not in classical or orchestral music, but I do enjoy it. I spent much of my youth singing in choral groups staged behind orchestras, it is not unfamiliar to me.  However I am not one to necessarily spend my Friday nights at the Symphony.  A large reason for this is budgetary, but another is that I grew up singing the same movements over and over again.  The music has grown stale for me, and uninteresting, still beautifully composed and conducted, but lacking that little bit of life.

This leads me to wonder what it would take for me to throw down my hard earned dollars at the symphony.  Innovation.  Reinvention. Something-Completely-New-And-Interesting.

Why is it that new composers/conductors have not thought to re-mix, if you will, classical music.  I’m not talking about new compositions, they stand on their own merits.  What I’m talking about is taking Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and completely re-imagining it.  I think about contemporary music, and groups on youtube that have become successful, their success is based primarily on their ability to re-imagine songs that we are already familiar with.  Take the group Pentatonix (They won The Sing-Off this year).  What made them so sensational was their ability to take a song that we all know well, break it down to its base elements, and then completely re-tool it so that it was completely different, but still recognizable.

Could symphonies attempt this on a grander scale?  Would they even try?  I have been scouring the internets since Friday trying to find some examples of symphonies who might have attempted this but have come up with nothing more than youtube videos of DJ beats behind a Beethoven melody.  So my question to you is this.  Do you know of any symphonies or orchestras who have attempted/succeeded in reinventing the Classical wheel?  What does it take to make these imaginings a reality. Or are we locked into listening to the same classical music we have since childhood.


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