I attend performances of both the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and Orchestra Toronto (an excellent community orchestra which performs in the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York – well worth the drive!) regularly, and have noticed that lately, the number of younger people attending concerts has been sparse. Is this a trend that we should be worried about? I tend to think so, because it seems to me that in the long term, only keeping orchestral music “in touch” with the younger generation, will keep it viable. One of the most interesting projects I’ve been involved with musically is a collaboration with the wonderful band Dynasty Electric, out of New York City. Their sound is eclectic: electronic dance beats meets psychedelic retro-pop and then some. I first met the duo Jenny Electrik and Seth Misterka (through Indaba Music, a great social networking site for musicians. I did a full-orchestra version of the title track to their album Euphoria that included, among other things, a live performance of a “drum & bass” drum riff, performed by 5 orchestral percussionists, and the inclusion of the Trinidadian Steel Pan as an integral instrument in the orchestra. In the end, they liked it enough to actually include it on the album (Euphoria, available on iTunes – track 12 )
Listen to Euphoria by Dynasty Electric (Euphonic Remix by Steve Sauder):
How does this connect back to the first paragraph in this post, about the prospects for orchestral music? Well, one of the results of the collaboration with Dynasty Electric is a (yet-to-be performed) concert, in which I scored 12 of their tracks, from “Euphoria” and some of their earlier albums, for full orchestra, to be performed with the band and orchestra together. To me, this is an interesting and positive way to combine orchestral and modern pop music and perhaps come up with a new orchestral “language” that speaks more directly to younger people! Have a listen to another of the tracks from this concert, and see what you think!
Listen to Supersonic Love by Dynasty Electric (Live at the Philharmonic Remix by Steve Sauder):