A Classical Revolution
In anticipation of the genre-bending, stereotype-breaking duo Black Violin coming to Bing Concert Hall on January 27 and 28, Francesca Dawis ('17) shares a few young artists who are similarly revolutionizing classical music and connecting with younger audiences in unique ways.
That Viola Kid
Drew Alexander Forde (“That Viola Kid,” TVK for short) aspires to be “the Neil deGrasse Tyson of classical music.” He demystifies stubborn stereotypes of the genre by personally connecting with his audiences through social media. On his popular platforms, the Juilliard-trained violist acts as a big brother and mentor to young musicians, vlogs his daily life, and shares excerpts of his practice sessions. Every week on his Instagram, he showcases a young musician he selects through the hashtag #PlayHomiePlay. TVK continues to inspire audiences and dispel all those horrible viola jokes you’ve heard.
With his mohawk, spandex pants, and high heels, you wouldn’t peg Cameron Carpenter as a professional organist. Reminiscent of ostentatious musicians like Liberace, Carpenter wows audiences and critics with his virtuosic technique and unique arrangements of pieces ranging in genres, from Bach to Leonard Cohen. Instead of the traditional pipe organ, Carpenter opts to play on a revolutionary new instrument he designed himself, called the International Touring Organ. It’s portable and digital, which has ruffled the feathers of some organ purists. Carpenter is proving that organs don’t have to be confined to churches or The Phantom of the Opera.
Self-described as “a rebellious art collective and live performance ensemble,” Chargaux is a Brooklyn-based string duo—violinist Jasmin “Charly” Charles and violist Margaux Whitney—that explores mutual passions for music, visual art, and fashion. Charly has synthesia, a neurological phenomenon where the stimulation of one sense evokes the sensation of another. In her case, she can hear colors—and Chargaux is able to seamlessly blend visual and aural sensations in their music and accompanying art shows. Their music has already been featured in two Grammy-nominated works, Kendrick Lamar’s m.a.a.d City and J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Synthesizing classical instrumentation with hip-hop and electro-pop, Chargaux’s music is as eclectic and striking as their ever-changing hairstyles and outfits.