Should Columbus Go Alt-Classical?

Some alt-classical music combines acoustic and electric instruments(Photo: Mr Michael Phams (Flickr))
Some alt-classical music combines acoustic and electric instruments(Photo: Mr Michael Phams (Flickr))

Okay, Columbus. A couple of weeks ago, in a different post on this blog, I asked, “should there be more classical music performances in nightclubs in central Ohio?” Your response on Classical 101′s Facebook page was a resounding “Yes!”

But the plot thickens. Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about how and why musicians in the city of Portland, Ore., have been blending their city’s indie rock and classical music scenes and embracing alt-classical – performances of classical music in non-traditional venues like bars and nightclubs, but also performances by ensembles that combine acoustic and electric instruments and even classical and so-called popular musical genres.

So, maybe it’s not enough to put classical music in venues where it’s not normally performed. Maybe, in order for classical music to have a vibrant future, classical music and musicians need to be able and willing to play in the sandbox with musicians and repertories of other musical genres. But then wouldn’t classical music lose something of its own unique identity?

What do you think? While Columbus is putting classical music in bars, should the Columbus classical music scene go alt-classical?

  • Johanne Denhez

    This is interesting.  I live in Montreal, and this week, in our beautiful new concert hall, Kent Nagano, conductor of the Montreal Symphony orchestra invited Simple Plan, a very popular canadian rock band, to join the symphony orchestra in a well acclaimed musical concert.  The result ?  The concert hall was filled to capacity and that means that people who usually never attend classical concerts had the privilege of discovering our beautiful orchestra, more money for the MSO and the orchestra will never cease the be the full beautiful and rich orchestra that it always was because of the funds these events generate.
      I had the pleasure of attending your opening season at the Ohio Theater.  The Carmina Burana concert was simply magnificient eventhough your orchestra is quite smaller than ours.  So maybe by welcoming other musical genres you would also increase the attendance to these events and perhaps you could add  the number of musicians in your already lovely orchestra thus making it the full orchestra you surely deserve.Long live classical 101.  I learn from you weekly and I fully appreciate it.Johanne Denhez, Montreal Q.C.

    • Jennifer Hambrick

       Thanks so much for your very interesting perspective from north of the border. I’m so glad you’re enjoying Classical 101. Hope you can return to Columbus to hear more of our local classical music offerings!