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February 5, 2012

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Crossover: classics, rock and jazz

BEETHOVEN, Bach, Vivaldi and other masters get the jazz and rock treatment in two concerts by crossover violinists this month.

British-born violinist Nigel Kennedy will first present his jazz-style classics on February 18 at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

German-born violinist David Garrett brings rock symphony and other works on February 27 to the Shanghai Concert Hall.

Garret and his band will perform "Hey Jude," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," excerpts from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, "Toccata" and music from scores of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Mission Impossible."

He will incorporate U2's music in "Vivaldi vs Vertigo." He plays a Guadagnini violin made in 1772.

Kennedy will present his interpretations of Bach and works of jazz pianist Fats Waller.

"For every piece of music, my band and I will try our best to present a wonderful performance to Chinese audience," Garrett says.

Incorporating Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Bach's masterpieces as its theme, this concert will include the works of these two geniuses and feature the passionate impact between master Antonio Vivaldi in "Vivaldi vs Vertigo" and U2.

Born in Germany in 1980, Garrett started playing the violin when he was 4. He made several classical recordings by the age of 13. He was also drawn by Aerosmith, U2 and Nirvana and left for New York when he was 18 - trying to grasp classic and contemporary. He studied under Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School.

He was said to be the fastest violinist when he completed Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" in one minute and six seconds (13 notes in a second) in 2008.

His album "Encore" in 2008 aimed to arouse young people's interest in classical music. His "Rock Symphonies" released in 2010 was considered a crossover breakthrough by some critics.

"I am enthusiastic about different genres, particularly rock music and classical music," Garret says. "Rock and classical music, both with powerful rhythms and sense of accuracy, are closely related to each other, although they differ from each other in a thousand ways."

Performing classical music and interpreting various composers requires the musician to convey something in his or her own language and convey a message, he said.

Romantic compositions require display of technical skills. "Each composition requires a different interpretation and this is the case with popular music and rock. If you are well trained and have a good understanding, it will not be difficult to achieve."

He urges musicians to "try to cross the boundaries and let your audience appreciate every aspect of wonder. This is analogous to creating a bridge between different kinds of music." Only in this way, he says, can new audiences be won. Otherwise, there's no point trying to cross boundaries.

Many years ago at one of his concerts Garret saw many children and young people and was inspired to attempt a crossover work. He called the result, his "Rock Symphony," a totally new trial in music.

"With a style of its own, it's very special. I do not assume that it has piloted a new musical genre, but it is definitely something no one has ever attempted before," he says.

Nigel Kennedy 2012 concert

Date: February 18, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 80-1,280 yuan

Tel: 962-388

David Garrett recital

Date: February 27, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Concert Hall, 523 Yan'an Rd E.

Tickets: 180-880 yuan

Tel: 962-388


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