Radiohead meets classical musical twist

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Photo // Ashley Bauler

AUDIENCES IN AWE DURING PERFORMANCE

King Center hosts an array of Auraria Campus shows and Feb. 16 marked a new experience for classical enthusiasts. Evan Shelton and his fellow string players created a velvety dark atmosphere based around the likes of Radiohead and classical music, titled Everything in its Right Place; The Music of Ravel and Radiohead.

As the house lights dimmed, Shelton addressed the audience. “This is an exploration into different textures and diverse music,”  Shelton said. “You will hear music that sounds like it is from a far off eastern land, and we wanted to mix that with the likes of an Alternative rock band [Radiohead].” The concert began, and rosined bows slid across each instrument’s strings. The quartet was made up of three violins and one cello. The concert had three movements, each with their own character. The first movement was particularly dark and whimsical, sounding like Romanian witchcraft, whereas movement two flowed easier.

The concert ended with a standing ovation, as the audience was blown away by the intermixing of polyphonic textures with alternative rock music. Crowd members vocally praised the group for creating and curating such a magical piece of music, and the night ended with Shelton thanking everyone.

Shelton was able to elaborate on the work he’d created. “The inspiration for this show came from the idea that music is music,” Shelton said. “As an educator I have seen a great divide between classical musicians/listeners and non-classical musicians/listeners; almost as if these genres exist in different universes.”

Shelton seems to believe that music has been a connecting force for common human themes and experiences. “I have always believed this was crazy as there are common musical, social, and political threads that can connect these styles of music,” Shelton said. 

Shelton’s theme lacked a platform. From this void, Shelton created the show.  “As a result of this philosophy I decided to create a series of concerts that pair up a classical composer and a modern musical artist and show how they directly connect to each other,” Shelton said. “In Thursday’s concert I chose to examine impressionistic compositional devices and how they are used in both Ravel (a composer from the early 20th century) and Radiohead’s (a popular prog/indie band) music. By doing so I hope to break the stereotypes of and bridge the gap between classical and non-classical music to help bring audiences together.”

In the current trend of live music, it can be seen as an opportunity to be immersed into singular musical genres. Shelton aims to diversify the impact of live music. “While the communication is different it is all centered around music, I really value the exposure I have had to these different musical cultures as it has helped open my eyes to the many different, ways music is shared and enjoyed,” Shelton said. “Going back to the concert’s original idea of bridging the gap, I hope to try and bring these musical cultures closer together so the fans of both sides can better understand and enjoy different styles.”

The concert was beautifully created, and the musical notes jumped off the page and into the central nervous systems of the audience. The atmosphere created was nothing short of luminous.

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