VAN HALEN Meets PAGANINI

Andrew L. Clouse of Albuquerque Tribune is reporting that Chicago-based classical ensemble EIGHTH BLACKBIRD which prides itself on broadening the repertoire for small ensembles by commissioning original works and exploring new and unusual sounds, will present an assortment of new music on Sunday, from a glam rock anthem to music for a culture that never existed.

The group, which formed in 1996 while the members were undergraduates at Ohio's Oberlin Conservatory, has won awards for adventurous programming three times. With a program like Sunday's, it isn't hard to see why.

For example, in the sextet's piece "The Glam Seduction", the 1980s rock music of Eddie Van Halen meets the instrumentation of Niccolo Paganini, a 19th-century violinist who was known for stunning, fast-fingered compositions.

The piece, composed by Los Angeles composer D.J. Sparr, even includes a guitar solo from rock band VAN HALEN's 1978 song "Eruption" transcribed for violin. The result — Paganini on coke.

"I think it's kind of his homage to glam rock," Photinos says. "And I think the similarities are just the sense of melodrama. It's as if we were to play an 80's hairband piece." [Read more]

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